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Kuwait sets snap polls for November 26

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait – Kuwait will hold snap elections on November 26, the government said on Monday, October 17, a day after the oil-rich Gulf state ruler dissolved parliament following a dispute over hiking petrol prices.

The move to dissolve parliament, a year before its term expires, came after lawmakers filed 3 requests to grill ministers over a cabinet decision to raise petrol prices and alleged financial violations.

Like other energy-rich Gulf Arab states, Kuwait adopted a number of austerity measures to face the slump in oil revenues including raising fuel and power prices.

Registration for candidates wishing to run in the election will open immediately after the publication of the decree in the official gazette, expected in the coming few days, a statement said.

The election is expected to see heated contests, mainly as many opposition groups have decided to participate after boycotting the previous two polls in protest against changing the voting system.

The cabinet also accepted the resignation of 3 ministers who want to run in the polls, according to the statement published by the official KUNA news agency.

Kuwait enjoyed relative stability in the past three years following almost seven years of political turmoil due to disputes between lawmakers, mainly from the opposition, and the government.

This is the seventh time a Kuwaiti parliament has been dissolved either by the emir or by courts since 2006.

Kuwait was the first state in the Gulf to adopt parliamentary democracy in 1962. 

Parliament enjoys legislative and monitoring powers but the government is formed from outside elected MPs and is headed by a senior member of the Al-Sabah ruling family.

The OPEC-member – which pumps about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day – is known for its cradle-to-grave welfare system that has pampered its nationals, who make up 30% of its population of 4.7 million.  – Rappler.com