Kuwait emir suspends parliament for a month

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A view of the Kuwaiti Parliament after listening to the speech made by the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Tuesday, Oct.25, 2011. Photo - Gustavo Ferrari/AP

Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Monday suspended the parliament through an official decree for one month, ahead of the planned grilling of the interior minister by lawmakers.

State-run Kuwait television said the Emir’s decision was based on an article in the constitution that allows the suspension of parliamentary meetings for a maximum of one month. The decision comes in line with a draft decree approved by the cabinet which recommended the emir to enforce the suspension.

Tensions between the opposition-controlled parliament, elected just over four months ago, and the government controlled by the Al-Sabah ruling family have reached new heights during the last few years as Islamist and liberal lawmakers jostle for democratic powers.

Some members of the government have come under repeated accusations of wide-ranging irregularities. Two cabinet ministers recently quit their jobs amid corruption scandals.

Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shamali resigned last month after opposition lawmakers accused him of squandering public funds and committing irregularities.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Ahmad al-Rujaib also stepped down last week after MPs grilled him over allegations of irregularities.

Kuwait has witnessed a series of political crises since 2006 during which eight governments resigned and parliament was dissolved on four occasions.

Former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah was forced to resign last year following unprecedented street protests. Parliament was dissolved a week later and snap polls held on 2 February in which the Islamists scored an impressive victory.

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