UPDATE 1-Kuwait emir accepts government resignation

Sun Jul 1, 2012 8:19am EDT

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KUWAIT, July 1 (Reuters) - Kuwait's head of state has accepted the resignation of the government, state news agency KUNA said on Sunday, in a move that could help ease a political crisis after a court ruling effectively dissolved parliament.

The Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, will now appoint a new cabinet, after which analysts expect a reinstated assembly to be dissolved so that a new parliamentary election can be held, probably after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts around July 19.

The court's ruling had effectively dissolved a parliament dominated by opposition Islamists and reinstated its more government-friendly predecessor.

Critics said the move was against the constitution.

"An Emiri decree was issued, accepting the resignation of (the government of) Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah," KUNA said.

Until a new government line-up is agreed, the outgoing cabinet will serve as caretaker, it added.

Kuwait, a major oil producer, has seen eight governments come and go in just six years which hindered economic reforms.

Kuwait has long prided itself on having a fully elected parliament with legislative power and lively debate - unique in a region ruled by autocrats who tolerate little dissent - but the ruling al-Sabah family maintains a firm grip on state affairs.

Key cabinet posts are held by al Sabah family members and the 83-year-old emir, who has the last say in politics, reserves the right to dissolve parliament at will. (Reporting by Mahmoud Habboush; writing by Isabel Coles, editing by Diana Abdallah)

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