The Kuwaiti constitutional court, on Sunday (March 19), nullified the parliamentary elections held in September 2022 and ruled in favour of reinstating the previous parliament, said the state media. Last year’s legislative elections are said to be the most inclusive one in the past decade or so. The elections were marked by the opposition making significant gains and clinching the parliamentary majority.
“The Kuwaiti Constitutional Court issued a verdict on Sunday, annulling the results of the 2022 National Assembly elections,” reported the official KUNA news agency, as per AFP. The verdict was given while citing discrepancies in the decree dissolving the previous parliament, said the state media report.
The court also ruled to reinstate the parliament that was elected in 2020 but had to be dissolved following orders by the crown prince in June.
“The constitutional authority of the dissolved parliament shall be restored as of the date of this ruling,” said Justice Mohammad bin Naji on Sunday. The country, which is also an OPEC oil producer and one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, has banned political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies.
Kuwait’s crown prince had dissolved the parliament last year and called for an early election in a bid to end the prolonged domestic political feuding which was hindering fiscal reforms in the oil-rich Gulf state.
Among all the Gulf Arab states, Kuwait has the freest and most active assembly but political power is largely concentrated in the hands of the ruling Al Sabah family, which appoints the prime minister and cabinet, and can dissolve the assembly at any time.
The most inclusive voting last year also led to the opposition members, many of whom had previously opted out of polls for a decade or so over alleged meddling by the executive authorities over parliament, getting elected. Out of the 50 seats in the Kuwaiti parliament, 28 were won by opposition members in the election as voters sent conservative Islamist figures and two women to the assembly. The election results were seen as a mandate for change amid a prolonged period of gridlock between the Cabinet and the 50-member assembly.
Notably, while Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state with a fully elected parliament, political stability in the country has typically depended on cooperation between the government and parliament. However, the country has also witnessed repeated political crises which have led to the paralysing of the state and disputes with the cabinet.
(With inputs from agencies)
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