Kuwait Reinstates Former Parliament

Prominent opposition lawmaker resigns calling the court’s ruling ‘a coup against the constitution’.

Kuwait’s highest court on Wednesday annulled the results of a February parliamentary election in which opposition lawmakers won a majority, and reinstated the previous assembly.

The ruling was the latest twist in an escalating row between a government appointed by the ruler and mainly Islamist lawmakers who had threatened to summon senior ministers to parliament for questioning.

Prominent opposition lawmaker Musallam al-Barrak announced that he and several other MPs were resigning from the restored parliament, calling the court’s ruling “a coup against the constitution”.

Opposition politicians won a majority in February’s elections, held after the emir dissolved the previous assembly amid bickering with the government over corruption allegations that had held up economic reforms and economic development.

Analysts said Wednesday’s ruling would not be welcomed by many voters who backed opposition politicians due to allegations of financial irregularities against some former lawmakers.
“The previous parliament is completely unpopular,” said Abdullah al-Shayji, a political science professor at Kuwait University.

“It does not have the support of the majority of Kuwaitis who voted for the new parliament and rejected most of the (former) parliamentarians who were rumoured to be involved in the (corruption) scandal.”

But some investors said the court’s ruling to dissolve parliament was a positive step as a protracted row between the government and parliament had long delayed economic reforms and held up vital development projects.

“The old parliament being reinstated is likely to benefit the private sector. I expect to see some positive reaction in the market,” said Talal Al-Hunaif, senior investment analyst at Coast Investment and Development Co.

“The country is suffering from constant political unrest and we saw no positive effect on the market since the new parliament was elected.”