Kuwaiti cabinet resigns and parliament dissolves

Kuwaiti cabinet resigns and parliament dissolves
Kuwait's emir has issued a decree dissolving the country's parliament, with the cabinet resigning over a 'lack of cooperation'.
2 min read
16 October, 2016
Kuwait's parliament has been dissolved over a "lack of cooperation" [AFP]

Kuwait's cabinet has resigned and its parliament dissolved over a "lack of cooperation", setting the stage for early elections.

According to the official KUNA news agency, the parliament was dissolved following a decree issued by Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Under Kuwait's constitution, only the emir has the power to dissolve parliament and call early elections, which must be held within two months of the dissolution of the house.

The move came hours after parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem called for snap elections in the face of mounting security and economic challenges.

MPs had filed three requests to question ministers over a decision to hike petrol prices - despite citizens promised compensation for the rise - and alleged financial and administrative violations.

Speaking with al-Rai television late on Saturday, Ghanem said Kuwait was facing a "delicate and exceptional period... with regional security, economic and domestic and external challenges".

"We cannot overcome this period if we don't have a new government team... and go back to the ballot boxes," he said.

The Kuwaiti government has pledged to compensate
citizens for hiking petrol prices [AFP]

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah, a senior member of Kuwait's royal family, seemed to share Ghanem’s view.

"I have informed the political leadership (emir) of this personal view and he has the ultimate decision," he said at the time.

Kuwait held its last parliamentary election in 2013. In that race for the 50-seat legislative body, some Islamist groups and opposition boycotted the vote.

Ahead of the 2013 poll, Kuwait still faced lingering unrest from the Arab Spring and voted in a largely pro-government group of lawmakers.

In this coming election, Kuwait faces the squeeze of low global oil prices. Government-subsidised gasoline prices have been raised by between 40 to 80 percent and other benefits have been cut, leading to growing dissent among lawmakers and citizens.

The OPEC member pumps about 3 million barrels of oil per day and relies heavily on oil for its revenues.