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MPs rejoice as Kuwait junks 'illegal' assembly

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KUWAIT'S parliament has been dissolved for the third time in less than a year, a move welcomed by opposition members that paves the way for elections.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah issued a decree disbanding the National Assembly, elected in 2009, state media reported. It came 12 days after the Constitutional Court ruled against a government bid to amend the election law and was seen as a victory for the opposition.

''The 2009 assembly has gone without regret,'' former opposition lawmaker Mubarak Al-Waalan said on his Twitter account. ''We strongly warn the government against attempting to amend the electoral system.''

The 2009 parliament was first dissolved by the emir in December after a dispute over corruption allegations sparked unprecedented anti-government protests. A new parliament was elected in February, with the opposition winning most of the 50 seats, only to be dissolved four months later when the Constitutional Court voided the vote and reinstated its predecessor. The opposition had considered the reinstated parliament to be illegal.

''Legitimacy is at stake,'' Shafeeq Ghabra, a political science professor at Kuwait University, said by phone yesterday. ''Whatever change happens has to be acceptable to all sides.''

BLOOMBERG

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