Kuwait’s constitutional court on Sunday annulled last year’s legislative elections and ruled to reinstate the previous parliament, state media said, as a political crisis rocked the oil-rich Gulf state.
The ruling was made due to discrepancies in the decree that dissolved the previous parliament, the official KUNA news agency said.
The September elections were the most inclusive in a decade, with members of the opposition winning a parliamentary majority with 28 of the 50 seats.
Many in the opposition had stayed out of the elections for the past decade because of what they saw as alleged meddling in parliament by executive authorities.
“Kuwait’s Constitutional Court delivered a verdict on Sunday annulling the results of the 2022 National Assembly election,” KUNA said.
He also ruled to reinstate the parliament which was elected in 2020 but dissolved on the crown prince’s orders in June, KUNA said.
“The dissolved council, from the date of issuance of this ruling… will regain its constitutional authority, as if it had never been dissolved,” Constitutional Court President Mohammad bin Naji told lawyers and reporters.
Marzouq al-Ghanim returns as parliament speaker, a position he had held since 2013 but lost in last year’s elections. He replaces Ahmed al-Saadoun.
Lawyer Nawaf al-Yassin said Sunday’s 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 AFP.
– ‘Incorrect’ –
Kuwait is the only Persian Gulf state with a fully elected parliament. One of the world’s largest oil exporters, it adopted a parliamentary system in 1962.
But repeated political crises have led to paralysis of the state and periodic spats with the cabinet.
In January, the Kuwaiti government resigned three months after being sworn in due to disputes with lawmakers. It was the sixth government in just three years.
Sunday’s ruling by the constitutional court was welcomed by lawmakers who will now return to their posts, including Saadoun Hammad al-Otaibi.
“The ruling indicates that the Kuwaiti judiciary is impartial, despite attempts by some to cast doubt on it,” said Otaibi, who filed an appeal after losing his parliamentary seat. “I expected the election to be invalidated.”
But lawmakers ousted from office by the latest decision were critical.
“The dissolution of parliament is a wrong measure,” Walid al-Tabtabai said, arguing that the constitutional court does not have the prerogative to undertake such a measure.
“Lawmakers must not give in to this decision and the 2022 parliament must resume its work,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “The return of parliament is inevitable.”