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Wed 4 Mar 2009 02:55 AM

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Kuwait ruler to dissolve parliament

TV station says Kuwait's ruler plans to issue decree to dissolve parliament ahead of fresh elections.

Kuwait's ruler has decided to dissolve parliament, Al Jazeera television reported on Tuesday, after Islamist lawmakers asked to question the prime minister over his government's handling of the economic crisis.

Frequent cabinet changes usually do not affect the oil policies of OPEC-member Kuwait, the world's seventh-largest oil exporter, which are set by a high state energy council.

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kuwait quoted parliamentary sources as saying Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, who has the last word in politics, would issue a decree to dissolve parliament.

"Parliamentary sources say that a decree will be issued to dissolve parliament and call for elections within two months and that the decree would be issued within 48 hours," said Saad al-Anzi, the head of Al Jazeera's bureau in Kuwait.

There was no confirmation of the report on state media and officials could not be reached to comment. The emir last dissolved parliament a year ago to end a row between MPs and the cabinet. A move to question the prime minister, a nephew of the emir, had led to the resignation of the previous cabinet in November. Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah was later re-appointed to form a new government.

The request on Monday by three MPs, who make up the opposition Islamic Constitutional Movement, to question Sheikh Nasser revived a long-running dispute between parliament and the government.

Their challenge came a day after Islamist deputy Faisal al-Meslem asked to question the prime minister over what he said were financial irregularities at his office. (Reuters)