| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Kuwait again dissolves reinstated parliament by decree

Kuwait’s parliament, which had only been reinstalled in March based on a Constitutional Court decision following a prior dissolution, was disbanded by royal decree on Monday, according to state news agency KUNA.

Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah announced last month that the parliament would be dissolved and new elections for the chamber would take place soon.

The Gulf Arab state, an OPEC member, 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.

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 U.S.-allied 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.

  • Reuters