KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Sunday issued a decree dissolving the Gulf state’s parliament, the official KUNA news agency reported.
The move came less than 24 hours after parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem called for snap elections in the face of mounting security and economic challenges.
Under Kuwait’s constitution, early polls must be held within two months of the dissolution of the house.
Ghanem’s remarks came after lawmakers filed three requests to grill ministers over a decision to hike oil prices and alleged financial and administrative violations.
More such requests are expected before parliament on Tuesday starts the final year of its four-year term.
In an interview with Al-Rai television late Saturday, Ghanem said Kuwait was facing a “delicate and exceptional period … with regional security, economic and domestic and external challenges.”
“We cannot overcome this period if we don’t have a new government team… and go back to the ballot boxes,” the speaker said.
This view, he said, was shared by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, a senior member of Kuwait’s ruling family, along with many lawmakers.
Under the constitution, only the emir has the power to dissolve parliament and call early elections.
The current parliament is considered pro-government but lawmakers have been angered by the cabinet’s unilateral decision to raise oil prices by between 40 to 80 percent.
The OPEC member pumps about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day.