Kuwait crown prince dissolves parliament, calls for early election

Kuwait’s crown prince on Wednesday dissolved parliament and called for an early election following a stand-off between the government and elected assembly that has hindered fiscal reform.

Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah said in a televised speech that decrees would be issued for the dissolution of parliament, the Gulf region’s oldest and most lively, and for “elections in coming months”.

Kuwait‘s ruling emir, who has the constitutional power to dissolve parliament, made a brief appearance to say that Sheikh Meshal, his half-brother and designated heir, would speak on his behalf, effectively blessing the move.

Sheikh Meshal, who was handed most of the emir’s duties late last year, said the domestic political scene was being “torn by disagreement and personal interests” to the detriment of the U.S.-allied country, which is an OPEC oil producer.

The move comes at a time when several opposition lawmakers are staging an open ended sit-in at the parliament complex to press Sheikh Meshal to name a new prime minister to replace the caretaker premier who has faced a combative parliament as head of cabinet.

The government resigned over two months ago ahead of a non-cooperation motion in parliament against Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid, a member of the ruling family who has been premier since 2019.

Kuwait bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies, including the power to pass and block laws, question ministers and submit no-confidence motions against senior government officials.

Frequent political deadlock in Kuwait has for decades led to cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions of parliament, hampering investment and reform. (Reporting by Nadine Awadalla in Dubai and Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Alex Richardson).

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