Kuwait MPs Boycott Revived Parliament amid Crisis

Posted on: August 01, 2012 at 00:46
Kuwait parliament failed Tuesday to hold its first session after it was reinstated by a court ruling as a majority of MPs boycotted the meeting amid a lingering political crisis.

Speaker Jassem al-Khorafi adjourned the session for next week after only six MPs of the 50-member house and several cabinet ministers turned up for the meeting boycotted by both pro-government and opposition lawmakers.

Opposition MPs declined to attend saying the parliament was illegitimate while pro-government members stayed away because of the government's refusal to pledge that it will not dissolve the house again.

Elected in 2009, the pro-government parliament was dissolved in December following youth-led protests. New polls were held in February in which the Islamist-led opposition scored a massive victory.

In an unprecedented ruling on June 20, the constitutional court nullified the legislative polls, scrapped the elected parliament and reinstated the 2009 assembly.

Khorafi said he would invite MPs for another meeting next week and, if there was no quorum, he would refer the issue to Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah to take ''appropriate action.''

The emir is expected to dissolve the assembly again and call new elections, the fifth since June 2006, amid speculation the government was preparing to amend the electoral constituency and voting systems.

The government has not explicitly said it will change the electoral system but Information Minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah al-Sabah said on Monday the cabinet would look into the matter, without giving a date or details.

The opposition, however, has threatened in a petition to would boycott any forthcoming election if the electoral system was changed.

Around 35 members of the scrapped 2012 parliament and thousands of people have signed the petition which also calls for dissolving the reinstated parliament soon.

Several opposition MPs have vowed to stage protests if the electoral system is changed.

Kuwait's opposition had also demanded deep political reforms including a multi-party system, a full parliament system and an elected government.

Since 1962, the government has been headed by a senior member of the al-Sabah family, in power unchallenged for the past 250 years and whose members also normally hold the key posts of defense, interior and foreign affairs.

The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which the government resigned nine times and parliament was dissolved on five occasions.

Source:Agence France Presse
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