Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal officially dissolved parliament on Tuesday, paving the way for general elections in the next two months, according to a royal decree.
The decree was expected as the new government led by newly-appointed Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al Sabah took the oath of office also on Tuesday.
The Crown Prince said it was in the interest of national security to dissolve parliament after months of political infighting between the National Assembly and the government.
“To rectify the political scene involving a lack of harmony and co-operation, in addition to differences, conflicts, personal interests, failure to accept others, practices and behaviours that undermine national unity, it was a must to resort to the people who represent the destiny, extension, survival and existence so that they could rectify the path in a way that serves their supreme interests,” Sheikh Meshal said in the decree.
Constitutionally, general elections must be held within two months from the date of the decree dissolving the country's National Assembly.
Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad, a son of ruling Emir Sheikh Nawaf, announced a new cabinet of 12 ministers on Monday, made up of the same ministers, apart from one, who had served under the embattled government of former prime minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah.
The previous government under the former prime minister faced several months of political feuding and tension with the country's national assembly. Several members of the cabinet, including the ministers of defence and foreign affairs, survived no-confidence votes in parliament.
Sheikh Sabah was expected to face a vote of non co-operation in April 6 after members of parliament filed a motion following a grilling session but he resigned shortly before the vote could take place.
In late June, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf and Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal announced plans to dissolve the parliament and called for early general elections, warning that “there are dangers and crises surrounding the country from every side”.
“We need to be careful and take lessons because dangers surround us from all sides. There's overlap between the legislative and executive powers, resulting in practices that threaten national unity,” Sheikh Meshal said in a televised address to the nation.
Kuwait differs from its Gulf Cooperation Council sister countries in that its political system constitutes both a royal family and an elected parliamentary body named the National Assembly. Unlike other elected parliaments in the GCC, Kuwait’s National Assembly has a significant degree of power and its members can remove ministers and override a veto by the emir with a two-thirds vote. The emir, on the other hand, has the power to dissolve parliament and has used that power on several occasions.
Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal was granted key constitutional powers late last year, including the ability to issue decrees like the one on Tuesday on behalf of the emir.