KUWAIT, Sept 25 Kuwaiti police cordoned off the
country's top court on Tuesday ahead of an expected ruling on an
electoral law that could serve as a catalyst for political
protest in the major oil producing state.
While Kuwait has not experienced the mass popular uprisings
seen elsewhere in the Arab world, tensions have grown between
the government, which is dominated by the ruling family, and the
At the government's request, Kuwait's constitutional court
is due to rule on Tuesday on the legality of the 2006 electoral
law, which divides the country into five constituencies.
Opposition leaders say they are concerned the court will
declare the law unconstitutional, opening the way for the
government to redraw electoral boundaries to its advantage ahead
of elections expected later this year or next.
Thousands of Kuwaitis held a peaceful protest rally outside
parliament late on Monday ahead of the court decision. Some said
they would protest outside the court during the hearing.
But police closed off the court complex in the centre of the
capital, also preventing media from entering the site, a Reuters
reporter at the scene said.
Media access to court hearings in Kuwait is decided at the
judge's discretion, but the court complex is usually open to
The government says the purpose of the court appeal is to
protect the outcome of future elections from possible legal
Opposition Islamist and tribal candidates performed strongly
in Kuwait's February elections and formed a majority opposition
bloc in parliament that raised pressure on the government.
While Kuwait has one of the most open political systems in
the Gulf, the head of the ruling family, Emir Sheikh Sabah
al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has the final say in political matters.
Persistent political infighting has stalled investment in
Kuwait, a key U.S. ally in the region and one of the richest
countries in the world per capita thanks to its oil wealth and
(Reporting by Mahmoud Harby, Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing
by John Stonestreet)