Kuwait calls December election after months of unrest

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Protesters object to changes to the electoral law

The Gulf state of Kuwait has called the second parliamentary election in a year following months of unrest over the rule of Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah.

Voters will go to the polls on 1 December to elect a new national assembly after Kuwait's top court declared the earlier ballot invalid.

Protests followed the court's decision in June, and a new rally is expected in Kuwait City on Sunday.

The earlier vote saw significant gains for the Islamist-led opposition.

Opposition politicians are calling for a boycott of the vote in protest at a proposal by the emir to change the electoral law - a move seen by critics as an attempt to manipulate the ballot.

"We have announced our position that if there was any meddling, there will be a boycott of the election, and what happened was meddling with the constitution of Kuwait," former MP Hamad al-Matar told Reuters news agency.

Kuwait's parliament has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf and opposition MPs openly criticise the ruling Sabah family.

However, the Sabahs retain full control over key government and executive posts.

A number of people were wounded and several arrests were made this week when riot police clashed with opposition supporters protesting over the electoral law change.

The emir has dissolved parliament four times since 2006.

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