Kuwait court rejects government recourse on electoral law
Kuwait’s constitutional court ruled on Tuesday that the Gulf emirate’s electoral constituency law was in line with the constitution, rejecting a government appeal.
“The recourse is rejected,” judge Faisal al-Murshid declared in a court verdict, a day after thousands of opposition supporters rallied against the government’s attempt to redefine the constituencies.
Last month, the government asked the constitutional court, whose rulings are final, to rule if the electoral constituency law was not in breach of the 1962 constitution.
The verdict was issued in a packed courtroom amid unprecedented security measures with dozens of riot police backed by armoured vehicles deployed around the Palace of Justice where the one-minute session was held.
The law, which divides the oil-rich Gulf state into five electoral districts, was passed by parliament in 2006 following popular rallies demanding reform of the electoral process.
Parliamentary elections were held on the basis of the law in 2008 and 2009, in addition to February this year which the constitutional court nullified in June on the grounds of procedural flaws.
The ruling was preceded on Monday by a massive rally by opposition supporters as speakers warned that a “politicised” verdict making the law unconstitutional could take Kuwait into a dark tunnel.
Opposition leaders also warned that street protests would be staged if the government tried unilaterally to amend the controversial law.
Last month the government brushed aside strong opposition objections to ask for the ruling on whether the constituency law was in breach of the constitution.
Opposition leaders had claimed the move was an attempt by the government, controlled by the Al-Sabah ruling family, to unilaterally change the constitutional system in place for a half century.
In an unprecedented ruling in June, the court scrapped the parliament elected in February and controlled by the opposition, and reinstated the previous pro-government house elected in 2009 after it was dissolved in December following youth-led protests.
The opposition has demanded that the 2009 parliament be swiftly dissolved and fresh elections held.
The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which the government resigned nine times and parliament was dissolved on five occasions.