| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Kuwait formally dissolves parliament, delays budget approval until after elections

As the Gulf Arab state’s crown prince attempted to end an impasse between the government and elected parliament that has impeded budgetary reform, Kuwait officially dissolved parliament on Tuesday, according to the official news agency KUNA.

Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who assumed most of the responsibilities of the reigning emir last month, declared last month that he will dissolve parliament and call for early elections. He gave his approval on Monday to a new prime minister’s cabinet.

“To rectify the political scene, the lack of harmony and cooperation … and behaviour that undermines national unity, it was necessary to resort to the people…to rectify the path,” Sheikh Meshal said in the decree dissolving parliament.

Parliament had not yet approved the state budget. Finance Minister Abdul Wahab al-Rasheed said on Tuesday the budget for fiscal year 2022/2023 would be approved after the elections, for which no date has been set yet, and that the government would continue to work according to the 2021/2022 budget.

Al-Rasheed said in a statement the next budget, which had to be approved before November, had set spending at 23.65 billion dinars ($77.24 billion) compared with 23.48 billion in the 2021/2022 budget.

The previous government resigned in April ahead of a non-cooperation motion in parliament against Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid, who late last month was replaced as premier by the current emir’s son Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah.

Political stability in Kuwait, an OPEC oil producer, has traditionally depended on cooperation between the government and parliament, the Gulf region’s most lively legislature.

Kuwait bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies.

Stalemates between Kuwait’s government and parliament have often led to cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions of the legislature over the decades, hampering investment and reforms. The last time parliament was dissolved was in 2016.

  • Reuters