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Kuwait asks for review of election law

The government of Kuwait [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] on Thursday asked the national Constitutional Court to review the legality of the country's election law. Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah [official website, in Arabic] stated that the decision of referral was made after all constitutional experts agreed that the 2006 election law violates the country's constitution [Al Arabiya News report]. He added that the purpose of the referral is to prevent any nullification of future elections based on the unconstitutionality of the law. Two parliamentary elections have already been held under the law in 2008 and 2009, in addition to the latest one in 2012. The referral to the court is expected to take place before the end of next week.

In June the Constitutional Court nullified [JURIST report] the latest parliamentary election based on procedural flaws. The court held that the new parliament [official website, in Arabic] was unconstitutional and that the 2009 parliament should be reinstated. It came only two days after Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] suspended [NYT report] the parliament for a month in response to escalating tensions between the more liberal, western-backed lawmakers and the Islamist-led lawmakers. The tension grew when two cabinet ministers resigned under the pressure of the Islamist-led lawmakers who tried to gain more seats. A similar ruling took place a week earlier when the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt [official website] dissolved [JURIST report] the Egyptian Parliament [official websites] because it found that one-third of the parliament's members were elected illegally. The court, by invalidating the entire parliament, affirmed the lower court's decision of February [JURIST report] when the High Administrative Court of Egypt ruled that voting system used in the recent parliamentary election was unconstitutional.

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