• October 26, 2016
    Last updated 8 minutes ago


Snap elections called in Kuwait amid economic challenges

No date was set for the fresh polls but early elections must be held within two months of the dissolution

Gulf News Report
21:00 October 16, 2016

Dubai: Kuwait’s emir, Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, on Sunday dissolved parliament, the official KUNA news agency announced, following tensions between the Gulf state’s legislature and government.

“Due to the delicate regional developments and the need to face the dangers of security challenges, it became necessary to go back to the people ... to elect their representatives ... and contribute to confronting those challenges,” he said in a decree.

The move came less than 24 hours after parliament speaker Marzouk Al Ganem called for snap elections in the face of mounting security and economic challenges.

Ghanem’s remarks came after lawmakers filed three requests to grill ministers over a decision to hike petrol prices and over alleged financial and administrative violations, in a clear sign of tensions between the government and parliament.

The emir’s decree was issued at the recommendation of the government which held an emergency meeting earlier on Sunday to discuss the standoff with MPs.

No date was set for the fresh polls but early elections must be held within two months of the dissolution of the house under the Kuwaiti constitution.

Kuwait is still grappling to find a satisfactory solution to the thorny issue of setting up a functioning parliament. In 2012 the parliament, elected in 2009, was dissolved, but later reinstated after the Constitutional Court ruled that the decree dissolving it was not constitutional.

The court also ruled that the decree calling for holding elections in February was not in line with the constitution.

Kuwait’s opposition resisted both the rulings by the country’s highest court and, legally unable to challenge them, called for fresh elections.

Two attempts by the 2009 parliament to convene and have the government take the oath failed for lack of a quorum after opposition members campaigned against holding a session.

The government at the time said it was keen on reviewing the clause that had reduced in 2006 the number of constituencies from 25 to five.

However, the opposition claimed that the move was part of a conspiracy to give pro-government candidates the edge in new elections. Several leaders organised rallies near the parliament to express their opposition to repelling the electoral law.

A Kuwaiti court rejected the government’s bid and maintained the five-constituency formula, prompting the opposition to pile up pressure on the government to dissolve the 2009 parliament and hold new elections.