x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ruling to scrap legislative polls invalid, says Kuwait opposition

The Kuwaiti opposition described a ruling by the top court scrapping legislative polls as "null and void" and politically motivated, urging a reversal of the decision to avoid "turmoil" in the country.

KUWAIT CITY // The Kuwaiti opposition described a ruling by the top court scrapping legislative polls as "null and void" and politically motivated, urging a reversal of the decision to avoid "turmoil" in the country.

"From a legal viewpoint, the ruling is null and void ... and accordingly has no value," said a statement signed by 35 members of the dissolved parliament following a lengthy meeting that ended yesterday.

"The constitutional court has exceeded its mandate and interfered in politics, granting itself powers above those entrusted to the head of state and the national assembly [parliament]," said the statement.

In an unprecedented verdict last week, the constitutional court, whose rulings are final, declared February's legislative election won by the opposition illegal and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament.

It based its decision on the grounds that two decrees dissolving the previous parliament and calling for a fresh election, both issued in December, were found to be flawed.

The opposition statement said that reviewing decrees issued by the emir "does not fall within the jurisdictions of the court in accordance of the law," and that the verdict "came outside the constitutional legitimacy."

The statement called on the court and the country's Supreme Judicial Council to reverse the decision.

"We urge members of the constitutional court and the Supreme Judicial Council to rectify the situation and reverse its decision to avert the country from legal chaos and turmoil," said the statement.

The former MPs called on Kuwaitis to rally on Tuesday in protest against the ruling after youth activists decided to demonstrate following the verdict.

The oil-rich Gulf state appeared to head for yet another political stalemate as the government was still studying what to do in the aftermath of the ruling.

It was expected to convene the previous parliament, a move considered unconstitutional by the opposition.

Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which the government resigned eight times and parliament was dissolved on four occasions.