Kuwait's parliament speaker calls for new elections

Kuwait's parliament speaker calls for new elections
There are growing calls for a snap elections in Kuwait following economic concerns, with the parliament's speaker and prime minister all saying a new government might be needed.
2 min read
16 October, 2016
There are calls for fresh elections in Kuwait [AFP]

Kuwait's parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem has called for snap elections as the Gulf state faces economic challenges due to continuing low oil prices.

It comes as MPs 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.

More requests are expected before parliament on Tuesday starts the final year of its four-year term.

Given the level of opposition to the government's economic activities, the parliament's speaker believes now is the best time for fresh elections.

Speaking with al-Rai television late 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," the speaker said.

This view also seems to he shared with Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah, a senior member of Kuwait's royal family.

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

Under the constitution, only Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has the power to dissolve parliament and call early elections.

The current parliament is considered pro-government but lawmakers have been angered by the cabinet's unilateral decision to raise petrol prices by between 40 to 80 percent.

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