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.

 

US says Assad may be preparing another chemical attack

Rouhani seizes opportunity to get closer to Qatar

New crown prince widely welcomed in Saudi Arabia

Iraq forces battle deep into devastated Old Mosul

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

Yemen cholera outbreak shows signs of slowing

Mali activists call for referendum to be abandoned

Iraqi forces control two thirds of Mosul Old City

Banned Bahraini newspaper fires staff

Assad leads Eid prayers in Syria’s Hama

Lone-wolf attacks raise concern about new trend in terror

Erdogan slams Saudi demands of Qatar as illegal

Sudan making 'positive' steps on meeting US sanctions terms

Mecca suicide bombing injures six

Gulf crisis heats up as Qatar receives list of demands

Suicide attacks kill at least three people in Mosul

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy