First Published: 2013-06-16

 

Kuwait scraps parliamentary poll with final court decision

 

Constitutional court scraps parliamentary election which was boycotted by opposition but approves controversial electoral law that sparked boycott.

 

Middle East Online

By Omar Hassan Abdulla - KUWAIT CITY

As if there were no December elections

Kuwait's top court on Sunday scrapped last December's parliamentary election, which was boycotted by the opposition, but approved the controversial electoral law that sparked the boycott.

The constitutional court, whose rulings are final, dissolved the current loyalist-dominated parliament and ordered a fresh election, in the verdict read out by presiding judge Yousef al-Mutawah.

It was the second time in a year that the court had ordered a dissolution of parliament. Last June, it scrapped an opposition-dominated parliament, saying there had been flaws in the procedures that led to its election.

Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, decreed the controversial amendment to the electoral law last October intensifying a bitter dispute that had engulfed the emirate since 2006, sparking street protests, some of which turned violent.

The electoral law passed in 2006 allowed each eligible voter to choose a maximum of four candidates. The amendment reduced the number to just one.

The court ruled the amendment "in line with the constitution".

It said it was scrapping the December election because a second decree issued by the emir last October, which had set up a National Election Commission, was unconstitutional.

Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition groups had rejected the electoral law amendment charging that it had enabled the government to manipulate election results and subsequent legislation.

The emir, who had vowed to accept the court's verdict whatever it might be, was scheduled to address the nation later on Sunday, state media said.

The court ruled that all legislation passed by the now dissolved parliament would stand.

Its speaker, Ali al-Rashed, confirmed that the new election would be held on the basis of the amended law despite threats by the opposition in recent weeks to repeat their boycott.

The opposition said it would hold a special meeting later on Sunday to assess the situation.

Even though the government is appointed by the emir, Kuwait was long looked upon by neighbouring Gulf states as a relative beacon of democracy, with its vibrant parliament and freedom of speech.

But the image has been tarnished by years of non-stop wrangling since the electoral law was changed in 2006.

The 50 MPs elected in December's now-scrapped vote were all government loyalists, as a result of the opposition boycott.

 

UN eyes new Western Sahara talks after Polisario pullback

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Merkel warns EU-Turkey ties 'severely hit' by Ankara developments

Pope Francis leads mass in Egypt

420 tonnes of plastic bags seized in year in Morocco since ban

Pope lifts spirits of Egypt's persecuted Christians

Erdogan says Turkey, US can turn Raqa into 'graveyard'

Hamas to amend controversial charter

Turkish authorities block access to Wikipedia

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers

US wants 'strong, democratic' Turkey: ambassador

Israeli tank trades shots with Hamas in Gaza

Syria says France 'hiding truth' about chemical attack

NATO chief warns Turkey to respect ‘rule of law’

Exiled Turkish journalist urges EU to confront Erdogan

Mass funeral for dozens slain in Syria bus attack

Qatar insists Baghdad had ‘full knowledge’ of hostage deal

UN eyes new Yemen peace talks

Erdogan resumes Gulen arrests after referendum win