Kuwait Government to Refer Election Law to Court, Minister Says

Kuwait’s government will ask the Constitutional Court to decide on the legality of the country’s election law, Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah said, a move that could raise political tensions.

The government will refer the issue to the court by the end of next week, Sheikh Mohammad told a press conference broadcast live on state television. A number of legal experts agree that the law is unconstitutional, the minister said.

Kuwait’s opposition movement, which includes Islamists, liberals, independents and youth groups inspired by the Arab Spring, has threatened to stage street protests if the government refers the law to court. Its members have claimed that such a move is a violation of the constitution and tampers with the electoral system.

A new parliament was elected in February, when the opposition won most of the 50 seats, only to be dissolved in June when the court ruled that February’s election was void and reinstated its predecessor. The opposition considers the reinstated parliament, elected in 2009, to be illegal and lawmakers have boycotted two sessions since July 31.

Kuwait, the fourth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has had 10 Cabinets since February 2006 and six parliamentary dissolutions.

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