Last Updated: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:22 pm (KSA) 09:22 am (GMT)

Kuwait court rejects government bid to change voting law

Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Ahmed al-Sadoun attends a rally in Kuwait City prior to the court ruling. (Reuters)
Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Ahmed al-Sadoun attends a rally in Kuwait City prior to the court ruling. (Reuters)

Kuwait’s highest court rejected a government appeal on Tuesday aimed at changing electoral boundaries after a protest by opposition figures against the move.

The ruling is likely to defuse immediate tensions with the opposition, which had promised to take to the streets if the court ruled in the government’s favor.

The government wanted to redraw the electoral constituencies but the opposition feared it would do this in a way which would favor government-friendly candidates in elections.

While Kuwait has not experienced the uprisings seen elsewhere in the Arab world, tensions have grown between the government, which is dominated by the ruling family, and the elected parliament.

“The Constitutional ruling today means that the government should resign immediately,” Islamist MP Faisal al-Muslem wrote on Twitter, calling for new parliamentary elections.

The government said it needed the constitutional court to rule on the electoral law in order to protect the outcome of future elections from possible legal challenges.

While Kuwait has one of the most open political systems in the Gulf, the head of the ruling family, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, has the final say in political matters.

Against a backdrop of change in the region, Kuwaiti opposition figures have called for an elected government and the opportunity to establish political parties, which are banned in Kuwait.

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