The dissolution of the Kuwaiti parliament is the second major crisis the emirate has faced in the past four months.
Here are the main political events in the Gulf state since the start of the year:
January 15: Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir, dies at age 79 after 28 years in power. Sheikh Saad al-Abdallah al-Sabah, 75, the crown prince who underwent colon surgery in 1997, is proclaimed emir.
January 21: The Kuwaiti government begins constitutional procedures to remove the new emir due to poor health. Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the prime minister, is nominated by a majority of the ruling family to become emir.
January 23: The government asks parliament to start procedures to remove Sheikh Saad as emir.
January 29: Parliament confirms Sheikh Sabah as new emir.
February 7: The new emir appoints Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, his half-brother and the interior minister, as crown prince. He also appoints his nephew, Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad, as prime minister.
February 9: New Kuwaiti cabinet of 16 ministers is formed. Massouma al-Mubarak, the first Kuwaiti woman minister, is appointed minister of planning.
March 6: Parliament passes a new liberal press law that bans the imprisonment of journalists without a court ruling and allows new dailies.
April 4: Kuwaiti women vote in municipal elections for the first time, as two women candidates contest the polls.
May 1: Kuwait's constitutional court revokes the public gatherings law issued in 1979, which had restricted demonstrations.
May 5: Hundreds of Kuwaitis demonstrate outside the government's headquarters to press for election reforms, as the cabinet meet to discuss slashing the number of electorates.
May 9: Anas al-Rasheed, the information minister, resigns in protest against a government proposal to amend the constitution.
May 15: Some 30 opposition MPs walk out of parliament in protest against a vote called by the government to refer its own election reform bill to the constitutional court. The bill calls for the number of electorates to be reduced from 25 to 10.
Several hundred Kuwaiti citizens present in the chamber applaud the opposition and prevent the vote.
May 16: The vote takes place without 29 opposition MPs who boycott the session.
May 17: Three opposition MPs file a request to query the prime minister for the first time in Kuwait's history, holding him responsible for blocking reforms. The date is set for May 29.
May 20: Opposition MPs promise to boycott a session called by the government to re-open debate on the election bill.
May 21: The emir issues two decrees, dissolving parliament and calling for fresh elections.