Middle East

Kuwait cabinet calls snap election on 25 July

Kuwaiti opposition supporters wave flags during election protest in Kuwait City Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Changes to Kuwait's election law led to protests

Kuwait's government has said snap general elections will be held on 25 July, following the dissolution of the parliament by the country's top court.

The decision was approved at an emergency meeting of the cabinet.

The Constitutional Court last week scrapped the parliament on procedural grounds and also threw out opposition challenges to the electoral system.

The opposition had boycotted general elections in December in protest at the rules decreed by the emir.

It was the second time in a year that the court has ordered the dissolution of parliament in the oil-rich Gulf state.

Last June it scrapped an opposition-dominated parliament, saying there had been flaws in the process that led to its election.

Mass protests

"At an extraordinary meeting... the cabinet approved a draft decree setting 25 July as the date for parliamentary elections," Cabinet Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah told Kuwait's state-run Kuna news agency on Thursday.

The decree will now be officially issued by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.

The snap elections were widely expected, following the Constitutional Court ruling.

The court also upheld new voting rules that allowed each voter to choose just one candidate at the ballot box - down from four previously.

The changes were decreed six weeks before December's poll, and led to mass protests.

Opponents had argued that the reform was designed to weaken the opposition.

The government says the new system has brought Kuwait into line with other countries.

Kuwait's parliament has lawmaking powers and can hold government ministers to account.

However, the emir has the final say in matters of state. He also chooses the prime minister, who in turn picks a cabinet, with members of the ruling al-Sabah family occupying the top posts.

More on this story