Kuwait parliament dissolved by royal decree again

The legislature was only reinstated in March following a Constitutional Court ruling and after a previous dissolution.

Members of parliament and Ministers attend a regular session of the Kuwait National Assembly
Kuwait bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies [File - Noufal Ibrahim/ EPA]

Kuwait’s parliament has been dissolved by royal decree, state news agency KUNA said, having only been reinstated in March based on a Constitutional Court ruling after a previous dissolution.

The decree, which was reportedly signed on Monday, comes after Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said last month that the legislature would be dissolved and that new parliamentary elections would be held in the coming months.

The Gulf Arab state, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has seen prolonged bickering between the government and the elected parliament that has hampered fiscal reforms.

The parliament first elected in 2020 was dissolved last year in a bid to end the feuding, and a vote was held in September in which the opposition made gains. But the Constitutional Court in March annulled those results and restored the previous assembly.

Sheikh Meshal, who signed Monday’s Emiri decree, was handed most of the duties of the ruling emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, in late 2021. The cabinet had submitted the decree to Sheikh Meshal earlier in the day, according to a previous statement by KUNA.

Sheikh Meshal had said last month that the “will of the people” required new elections that would be “accompanied by some legal and political reforms to take the country to a new phase of discipline and legal reference”. He did not go into detail on the reforms, however.

Infighting and political gridlock

Kuwait bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies, and political stability has traditionally depended on cooperation between the government and parliament.

The Gulf state has strong fiscal and external balance sheets, but the infighting and political gridlock have hampered investment and reforms aimed at reducing its heavy reliance on oil revenues.

Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah, the emir’s son, had in January submitted his government’s resignation due to friction with the parliament elected in 2020. He was renamed premier in March and a new cabinet was announced this month.

Relations have also been strained between the prime minister and the speaker of the now twice-dissolved parliament. The speaker, Marzouq al-Ghanim, wrote on Twitter shortly after the decree that he would run in the election, a date for which has yet to be announced.

Source: Reuters