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Kuwait dissolves parliament, delays budget approval

Stephanie McGehe
Kuwait's crown prince moves to resolve a standoff between the government and elected parliament that has hindered fiscal reform.
  • Crown Prince last month dissolved parliament, calling for elections 
  • Previous government resigned ahead of a non-cooperation motion
  • Finance Minister says next budget will be approved after elections

Kuwait formally dissolved parliament in a decree issued on Tuesday, state news agency KUNA said, as the Gulf Arab state’s crown prince moved to resolve a standoff between the government and elected parliament that has hindered fiscal reform.

Last month Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who took over most of the ruling emir’s duties, said he was dissolving parliament and would call for early elections. On Monday he approved a cabinet headed by a new prime minister.

“To rectify the political scene, the lack of harmony and cooperation … and behaviour that undermines national unity, it was necessary to resort to the people… to rectify the path,” Sheikh Meshal said in the decree dissolving parliament.

Parliament had not yet approved the state budget. Finance Minister Abdul Wahab al-Rasheed said on Tuesday the budget for fiscal year 2022/2023 would be approved after the elections, for which no date has been set yet, and that the government would continue to work according to the 2021/2022 budget.

Al-Rasheed said in a statement the next budget, which had to be approved before November, had set spending at 23.65 billion dinars ($77.24 billion) compared with 23.48 billion in the 2021/2022 budget.

The previous government resigned in April ahead of a non-cooperation motion in parliament against Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid, who late last month was replaced as premier by the current emir’s son Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah.

Political stability in Kuwait, an OPEC oil producer, has traditionally depended on cooperation between the government and parliament, the Gulf region’s most lively legislature.

Kuwait bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies.

Stalemates between Kuwait’s government and parliament have often led to cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions of the legislature over the decades, hampering investment and reforms. The last time parliament was dissolved was in 2016.