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Kuwait MPs flay government's call for elections

Reformist lawmakers accused the government yesterday of trying to suppress parliament and curb reform.

  • Reuters
  • Published: 00:00 May 23, 2006
  • Gulf News

Kuwait: Reformist lawmakers accused the government yesterday of trying to suppress parliament and curb reform.

They said the government called for elections before the assembly could pass a bill to limit voting irregularities.

The Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah dissolved parliament on Sunday and called elections next month a year early after an impasse over the government bill. Opponents said the draft bill did not go far enough to curb possible election violations.

Abdullah Al Naibari, secretary-general of the Democratic Forum opposition bloc, said the government was trying to rein in the traditionally fiery assembly.

"The dissolution of parliament is aimed at electing a parliament like the dissolved one, paralysed and without any real impact or independence," he said.

The emir's decision came a week after lawmakers and ministers clashed in the house over the draft law to reduce the number of constituencies from 25 to 10.

Reformists wanted the number reduced to just five, saying it would make elections easier to monitor.

The row descended into a stand-off when government supporters in the assembly voted to send the bill to a constitutional court. The reformists, accusing them of stalling, then submitted an unprecedented motion to publicly question the prime minister.

"Parliament was punished, but it was the government that was in the wrong," MP Ahmad Al Mulaifi said.

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