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Kuwait ruler warns against chaos, social rift

Democratic practice has limits: Kuwait's Emir

Kuwait's Emir on Tuesday warned against chaos and social divisions amid heightened political turmoil and tribal and sectarian tensions that have rocked the oil-rich Gulf state.

"Democratic practice has its principles and limits ... If it exceeds that it turns into chaos," Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah said in televised speech, adding that such chaos is a threat to Kuwait's security and stability.

"We must be aware of the dangers of hateful rifts ... There are no winners in strife and the loser is always the nation," he said.

But, he noted that the Kuwaiti constitution ensures the freedom of expression and speech, and correct parliamentary practices, leading up to the fulfillment of the public interest.

"We, in this country, firmly believe in the constitutional principles that should deepen sound practices through constitutional tools and under the dome of the National Assembly, rather than through stirring up sentiments and using sensational ways, intimidation and skepticism via speeches and diverse mass media," he said.

Tensions have surfaced in OPEC's fourth-largest producer over the past few weeks, with the emirate's tribes staging two massive rallies last week to protest a controversial television program.

Opposition MPs, who earlier this month grilled the prime minister and three other cabinet members over allegations of corruption, have again threatened to grill the premier and other ministers.

"Recent regrettable practices in Kuwait have crossed all limits ... they opened the door for chaos and fuelled tensions," said the Emir, while appealing for national unity.