Kuwait dissolves parliament, cites security challenges

Cabinet to meet Monday to set new election date

Kuwait dissolved its parliament and decided to hold fresh elections, citing security challenges for the move, the media in the Gulf OPEC oil producer reported on Monday.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah issued an “Emiri decree” dissolving parliament and instructing the cabinet to implement the decision.

A statement carried by Al-Anba and other Kuwaiti newspapers said: “Given the delicate regional developments and security challenges and their repercussions on Kuwait, and the need to face all these challenges and threats, it has been decided to return to the people, the source of authority, to choose their representatives in order to express their aspirations and to contribute to facing these challenges.”

The cabinet in the Gulf emirate, one of the wealthiest nations, held an emergency meeting on Sunday and approved the dissolution of parliament, the 9th since it was created 54 years ago, the official news agency Kuna said.

It quoted Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah as saying the decision to dissolve parliament was needed because of “besetting threats,” in an apparent reference to the conflict in Syria and Yemen, instability in nearby Iraq, and a recent spate of Daesh attacks in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“We need to take measures to confront besetting threats and challenges and this should be done by resorting to the people to select their representatives and to effectively take part in encountering such serious challenges,” he said.

Al-Anba Arabic language daily said the cabinet would hold a session on Monday to set date for parliament elections.

Kuwait, a founding member of the Vienna-based Opec, is the first Gulf Arab country to have a parliament. It has a population of around 4.2 million, with expatriates accounting for more than two thirds.

Like other oil producer, Kuwait has embarked on austerity measures because of weak oil prices, raising petrol prices and cutting financial benefits to civil servants.