* Move expected after parliament fails to convene
* Court ruling caused latest upheaval
* Political turmoil holding up investment and reforms
By Sylvia Westall
KUWAIT, Oct 3 Kuwait's cabinet has asked the
country's ruler to consider dissolving parliament, state news
agency KUNA reported on Wednesday, in a widely expected bid to
clear the way for a new election and end months of political
Kuwait, a major oil producer and U.S. ally, has a relatively
open political system by Gulf standards, and has avoided an
uprising like those that have ousted dictators in four Arab
states since early last year.
But tensions have grown between its elected parliament and
the government, which is dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah
family. The emir is Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
Kuwait has been unable to hold a parliamentary session for
several months after its Constitutional Court effectively
dissolved the opposition-dominated assembly which was elected in
February, basing its decision on a technicality.
The ruling in June reinstated the previous parliament,
originally elected in 2009 and which contained more government
supporters, but the body has not been able to convene due to a
boycott by lawmakers.
"A draft decree to dissolve the 2009 parliament was
submitted to the emir ... because it was not possible to hold
sessions of the National Assembly due to a lack of quorum,"
information minister sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah said,
according to KUNA.
If the emir grants the request, it will be the sixth
dissolution of parliament since 2006. Parliamentary elections
should be held within 60 days.
Political turmoil has held up a 30 billion dinar ($108
billion) economic development plan and this year's phase of the
project was rejected by opposition deputies in April.
The plan is supposed to provide a series of infrastructure
projects including a new airport terminal, new oil refinery and
hospitals, and was aimed at diversifying the economy and
attracting foreign investment.
The latest deadlock has frozen parliamentary debate - the
2012 assembly was not even able to approve a budget for the
current financial year. The majority opposition bloc, dominated
by Islamist and tribal lawmakers, pushed two government
ministers out of their jobs during that legislature.
In another ruling last week, the Constitutional Court
rejected a government bid to change voting boundaries, leaving
it without a clear long-term option to resolve the political
The ruling suggested that a new assembly, whenever it is
elected, will likely have a similar make-up to the one elected
in February and could prove just as obstructive to the