Kuwait’s top court yesterday scrapped the country’s parliamentary election in December last year, which was boycotted by the opposition, but approved the controversial electoral law that sparked the boycott.
The constitutional court, whose rulings are final, dissolved the current loyalist-dominated parliament and ordered a fresh election, in the verdict read out by presiding Judge Yousef al-Mutawah.
It was the second time in a year that the court had ordered a dissolution of parliament. In June last year, it scrapped an opposition-dominated parliament, saying there had been flaws in the procedures that led to its election.
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah decreed the controversial amendment to the electoral law in October last year, intensifying a bitter dispute that had engulfed the emirate since 2006, sparking street protests, some of which turned violent.
The electoral law passed in 2006 allowed each eligible voter to choose a maximum of four candidates; the amendment reduced the number to one.
The court ruled the amendment “in line with the constitution.”
It said it was scrapping the election because a second decree issued by the emir in October, which had set up a National Election Commission, was unconstitutional.
Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition groups had rejected the electoral law amendment, charging that it had enabled the government to manipulate election results and subsequent legislation.
The emir, who vowed to accept the verdict whatever it might be, was scheduled to address the nation later yesterday, state media said.
The court ruled that all legislation passed by the now dissolved parliament would stand.
Kuwaiti Parliamentary Speaker Ali al-Rashed confirmed that the new election would be held on the basis of the amended law despite threats by the opposition in recent weeks to repeat their boycott.