Kuwait cabinet asks for parliament dissolution
October 3, 2012
Manama: Kuwait’s cabinet on Wednesday forwarded a motion to the Emir to dissolve the parliament.
The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Hamad Al Mubarak Al Sabah.
The information minister said that the cabinet’s motion was “in line with the Emir’s wish to speed up the resumption of parliamentarian activities following the Constitutional Court ruling in the electoral law”, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.
The country’s highest court on September 25 rejected a bid by the government to amend the controversial 2006 electoral law “to address legal loopholes that could result in constitutional confusion and to ensure a fairer representation of the people in parliament.Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah Al Mubarak Al Sabah, who is also his country’s state minister for cabinet affairs, said that the session also looked into the letter by Jasem Al Kharafi, the parliament speaker, in which he stated the failure of the attempts to convene the parliament due to lack of quorum.
The current parliament, elected in 2009, was dissolved in December, but reinstated in June after the Constitutional Court ruled that the decree dissolving it was not constitutional. The court also ruled that the decree calling for elections in February was not in line with the constitution and de facto dissolved the legislative body dominated by tribal and religious lawmakers.
The opposition resisted both rulings by the country’s highest court and as it was legally unable to challenge them called for fresh elections.
Two attempts by the 2009 parliament to convene and have the government take the oath failed for lack of a quorum after opposition members campaigned against holding any session. In the second try on August 7, only four of the 50-member house turned up.
“We could not convene the session due to the lack of a quorum and I will not call for another session,” Al Khurafi said. The deadlock has frozen the endorsement of the government and all parliament-related issues.
In anticipation of seemingly unavoidable parliamentary elections, the government in August referred the 2006 controversial electoral law to the Supreme Court on suspicion that it breached the constitution.
The government was keen on reviewing the clause that had reduced in 2006 the number of constituencies from 25 to five.
However, the opposition claimed that the move was part of a conspiracy to give pro-government candidates the edge in new elections. Several leaders organised rallies near the parliament to express their opposition to repelling the electoral law.
On September 25, the court rejected the government’s bid and maintained the five-constituency formula, prompting the opposition to pile up pressure on the government to dissolve the 2009 parliament and hold new elections.
The verdict, hailed by all parties, was seen as a landmark for renewed work for the sake of the country. However, their interpretations of its meaning and implications varied vastly.