Kuwait court overturns 2022 vote and restores old parliament

Polls last year saw opposition members win 28 of 50 seats, giving them a parliamentary majority.

Kuwait’s Constitutional Court has ruled that last September’s parliamentary elections, in which the opposition made gains, were void and that the previous assembly should be reinstated.

Sunday’s decision comes at a time of renewed friction between the elected parliament and the government and follows the reappointment this month of the country’s prime minister, whose government resigned in January amid a deadlock with parliament.

Last year, Kuwait’s crown prince dissolved parliament and called a snap election in a bid to end protracted domestic political wrangling that has stymied budget reform.

September’s polls – the most inclusive for a decade – saw opposition members win 28 of 50 seats, giving them a parliamentary majority. The vote marked a victory for opposition figures, many of whom had stayed out of the polls for the past decade over what they claimed was executive interference in parliament.

However, Judge Mohammad bin Naji said on Sunday that the court declared the dissolution of parliament null and voided the snap elections held in September.

“The constitutional authority of the dissolved parliament will be restored from the date of this decision,” he told a hearing attended by reporters.

“Invalidity of the electoral process”

Lawyer Nawaf Al-Yassin said the decision followed several election appeals.

“The appeals relate to the invalidity of the electoral process, the decrees calling elections and the decree dissolving the previous National Assembly,” he told the AFP news agency.

Kuwait, an OPEC oil producer, bans political parties but has given its legislature more clout than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies.

Translation: The speech of His Highness the Crown Prince on June 22, 2022 and his spokesperson on October 18, 2022, made it clear that the dissolution and the elections took place in accordance with the law and constitutional procedures. Today’s court ruling shows they were all wrong. Therefore, it is necessary to hold accountable the person who provided the legal advice…Kuwait does not deserve such pranks.

Frequent political wrangling has often led to cabinet reshuffles and the dissolution of parliament, hampering investment and reforms aimed at reducing the country’s heavy dependence on oil revenues.

A member of the dissolved assembly, Abdullah Al-Turaiji, hailed the decision as “correcting the error of the government in its relations with parliament”.

Political stability in Kuwait has traditionally depended on cooperation between the government and parliament.

While Kuwait’s leaders have responded to some opposition demands, including clemency for political dissidents, key reform proposals such as a public debt law continue to face a legislative deadlock.


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