Kuwait emir dissolves parliament

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved the country's parliament on Oct 16, 2016.
Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved the country's parliament on Oct 16, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

KUWAIT CITY (AFP, REUTERS) - Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, on Sunday (Oct 16) dissolved parliament, the official KUNA news agency announced, following tensions between the Gulf state's legislature and government.

"Due to the delicate regional developments and the need to face the dangers of security challenges, it became necessary to go back to the people... to elect their representatives... and contribute to confronting those challenges," he said in a decree.

The move came less than 24 hours after parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem called for snap elections in the face of mounting security and economic challenges.

Mr Ghanem's remarks came after lawmakers filed three requests to grill ministers over a decision to hike petrol prices and over alleged financial and administrative violations, in a clear sign of tensions between the government and parliament.

The emir's decree was issued at the recommendation of the government which held an emergency meeting earlier on Sunday to discuss the standoff with MPs.

No date was set for the fresh polls but early elections must be held within two months of the dissolution of the house under the Kuwaiti constitution.

Political stability in Kuwait, a leading OPEC oil producer and exporter, has traditionally depended on cooperation between the government and parliament, the oldest and most powerful legislature in the Gulf Arab states.

Liberals and candidates from some of Kuwait's more marginalised tribes won seats in the last election in 2013, after opposition Islamists and populists boycotted the election.