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Kuwait's emir suspends parliament

Kuwait's emir has suspended parliament for one month, lawmakers said on Monday

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah issued a decree on Monday to suspend parliament sessions for one month in an apparent bid to defuse tensions between the government and MPs.

The decision was based on an article in the constitution that allows the ruler to suspend parliamentary meetings for a maximum of one month, state-run Kuwait television said.

Earlier on Monday, the cabinet approved a draft decree recommending to the emir to enforce the suspension.

Tensions have increased between the opposition-controlled parliament, elected just over four months ago, and the government controlled by the Al Sabah ruling family.

Opposition MPs have repeatedly accused some members of the government of wide-ranging irregularities, forcing two cabinet ministers to quit since the opposition scored an impressive victory in the February snap polls.

Finance Minister Mustafa Al Shamali resigned last month following a marathon grilling in parliament by opposition lawmakers who accused him of squandering public funds and committing irregularities.

And minister of social affairs and labour Ahmad Al Rujaib quit his post last week after MPs filed to quiz him over allegations of irregularities.

The country has been rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which eight governments resigned and parliament was dissolved on four occasions.

Unprecedented youth-led street protests last year forced former prime minister Shaikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah to resign in November. Parliament was dissolved a week later and snap polls held on February 2.