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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Kuwait's woman minister sworn-in
Massouma al-Mubarak during her first parliamentary session with other cabinet members
Massouma Mubarak: It's a great victory for Kuwaiti women
Kuwait's first woman cabinet minister has been sworn-in amid noisy protests from Islamist politicians.

Massouma al-Mubarak, the new planning minister, described her appointment as a "great victory" for Kuwaiti women.

Tribal and Islamist MPs banged their desks and shouted in protest as she took her oath in parliament.

They fiercely opposed last month's historic bill giving women full political rights, and say Ms Mubarak's appointment is unconstitutional.

They said that as she had not registered as a voter she was not eligible to become a member of parliament.

As they stood and shouted in protest, liberal politicians stood as well, shouting congratulations to the 57-year-old US-educated political science teacher.

'Legal' appointment

Ms Mubarak - wearing a dark pinstriped suit and an Islamic veil that covered her hair - appeared unbothered by the clamour as she read the oath, correspondents said.

Speaker Jassem al-Khorafi reassured the house he had consulted constitutional experts who confirmed her appointment was legal.

"It's a great day for Kuwaiti women who have struggled and persevered persistently to gain their full political rights," said Ms Mubarak afterwards.

"In my name and in the name of Kuwait's women... we greatly appreciate the honest efforts exerted in support of the legitimate demands of Kuwait women."

Ms Mubarak was named minister of planning and administrative development a month after Kuwait's parliament gave women the right to vote and participate in politics for the first time.

But the legislation, passed on 16 May, came too late for women to participate in the 2 June municipal polls. They will be able to take part in Kuwait's parliamentary elections in 2007.

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