Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kuwait emir dissolves parliament

Updated at: 0615 PST, Thursday, March 19, 2009

KUWAIT CITY: The emir of the Gulf state of Kuwait dissolved parliament on Wednesday for the second time in a year after a new row between MPs and the cabinet, which is dominated by members of his Sabah family. Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah called a snap election within the next two months, the official KUNA news agency said, the second poll in the Western-backed oil producer since May last year and the third since June 2006. The emir, whose country is the main rear base for US-led operations in neighbouring Iraq, said he took the decision to "safeguard the security of the nation and its stability."He strongly criticised what he called "regrettable practices by MPs that have distorted the image of Kuwaiti freedom and democracy." The emir expressed particular anger at repeated demands by some MPs to summon before parliament his nephew, outgoing Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmed al-Sabah.The demands had prompted the cabinet to tender its resignation in support of the premier. He accused the 50-member chamber of abusing its constitutional powers and warned he would not "hesitate to take any step to safeguard the country's security." The new parliamentary polls will be held in mid-May, a government source told media. MPs had expressed concern that the emir would suspend parliament without a snap election and rule by decree for the next two years.

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