KUWAIT, Oct 7: Kuwait’s ruler ordered the dissolution of parliament on Sunday, a senior government minister said, opening the way to a parliamentary election in the major oil-producing Gulf Arab state after months of political deadlock.

The emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, had been widely expected to take the decision following a cabinet request to dissolve the assembly. Elections now need to be held within 60 days under constitutional rules.

Kuwait, a regional US ally, has a relatively open political system by Gulf standards and has avoided an uprising like those that have ousted leaders in four Arab states since early last year.

But tensions have grown between its elected parliament and hand-picked government. The emir, who has the final say in state affairs, picks the prime minister, who in turn selects a cabinet.

“The emir issued a decree to dissolve parliament,” state news agency Kuna said, citing Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah, who handles cabinet affairs.

The last parliamentary elections were held in February and opposition Islamist and tribal candidates performed strongly. They formed an opposition bloc that put pressure on the government, which is dominated by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

The opposition pushed two government ministers from their posts during that legislature.

Political upheaval has held up investment projects and economic reforms in the wealthy Opec member state. This is the sixth dissolution of parliament since Sheikh Sabah came to power in 2006.

The parliament was last broken up in June by Kuwait’s top court over a technicality. The old assembly that the court reinstated had been unable to meet because of a boycott by MPs.—Reuters

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