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article imageOp-Ed: Kuwait's ruler dissolves National Assembly

By Ken Hanly     Oct 8, 2012 in Politics
Kuwait - Emir Sheik Al-Sabah, the ruler of Kuwait, issuued a decree dissolving the 2009 National Assembly for the second time in less than four months. The assembly was dissolved in December 2011, after protests and allegations of corruption against some members.
Corruption charges were leveled against at least 13 members of the 50 seat assembly. The protests also led to the resignation of the former prime minister and the appointment of the present premier Sheik Jaber Al-Sabah.
General elections were held on February 2 this year. The opposition scored a big victory winning 35 seats and control of the assembly led by Islamist factions. Conveniently, the Constitutional Court on June 20 nullified the polls and dissolved the Assembly on the grounds that the decree that dissolved the 2009 Assembly and asked for a new vote was flawed. The court also revived the 2009 Assembly which was dominated by pro-government members.
The revived Assembly failed to meet because both the opposition and the pro-government MP's boycotted meetings. The latter, sensed that the government was going to dissolve the Assembly and call new elections. The Assembly had been invited to convene on July 31 and August 7. Opposition groups were pressing for a quick dissolution, so elections could take place.
The government took its time. It is worried that new elections will again see the opposition win a majority in the Assembly. The government did not issue a decree yet setting out the date of new elections. Elections must be held within two months.
The opposition is concerned that the government will issue another decree amending the electoral constitutency law so the opposition will not win a majority. The opposition is demanding that the election be held under existing law. The existing law was confirmed by the Constitution Court on September 25. The opposition fears that no date for the election was given in order to give the government time to change the electoral laws before the election.
Kuwait has had numerous political crises since 2006. From 2006 until the present the government has resigned nine times. Should the present government try to amend the electoral laws to deprive the opposition of a majority, there is bound to be trouble in the oil-rich state, that is a close ally of the U.S.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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