HomeMiddle EastKuwait court annuls 2022 vote, restores previous parliament

Kuwait court annuls 2022 vote, restores previous parliament

In polls last year, members of the opposition won 28 of the 50 seats, giving them a parliamentary majority.

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

Sunday’s move comes at a time of renewed friction between the elected parliament and the government and follows the re-election this month of the country’s prime minister, whose government had resigned in January in the confrontation with parliament.

Last year, Kuwait’s crown prince dissolved parliament and called early elections in an effort to end long-running political infighting that has stymied tax reform.

The September polls – the most inclusive in a decade – saw opposition members win 28 of the 50 seats, giving them a parliamentary majority. The vote marked a victory for opposition figures, many of whom had been kept out of the elections for the past decade because of what they claimed was meddling by executive authorities in parliament.

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

“The constitutional authority of the dissolved parliament will be restored from the date of this ruling,” he told the court session attended by journalists.

‘Nullity of the electoral process’

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

“The appeals refer to the nullity of the electoral process, the decrees calling for elections and the decree of dissolution of the previous National Assembly,” he told the AFP news agency.

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

Translation: His Highness the Crown Prince’s speech on June 22, 2022 and his spokesman’s on October 18, 2022 clearly said that the dissolution and elections were conducted in accordance with the law and constitutional procedures. Today’s court ruling proves everyone wrong. Therefore, it is necessary to hold the person who provided the legal advice accountable… Kuwait does not deserve such charades.

Frequent political disputes have often led to cabinet reshuffles and parliamentary dissolutions, hampering investment and reforms aimed at reducing the country’s heavy reliance on oil revenues.

A lawmaker from the dissolved assembly, Abdullah Al-Turaiji, welcomed the move as a “correction of the government’s mistake in dealing with parliament.”

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

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

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