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Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmad Al Jaber dissolved parliament over the weekend, citing ongoing political deadlock that has led to four elections in four years in the oil-rich Gulf country, the New York Times reported.

On Friday, the emir said parliament would be suspended for four years, complaining that the political turmoil between parliament and government required “hard decisions to save the country.”

He also suspended a number of articles in the constitution, adding that the transitional period –a typical parliamentary term in length – will be used to review “all aspects of the democratic process” in Kuwait.

Sheikh Meshal’s move came a little more than a month after Kuwaitis voted for a new parliament, and less than a year after he came to power following the death of the former emir.

Political gridlock has become common in Kuwait over the past five years, with recurrent parliamentary polls and cabinet resignations that have made it difficult for officials to implement their agendas.

Parliamentary suspensions have happened only twice in Kuwait, in 1976 and 1986.

While not a full democracy due to its hereditary monarchy and its ban on political parties, the Gulf nation stands out in a region for maintaining some democratic norms: Kuwait’s parliament holds substantial power compared with neighboring monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia.

Lawmakers can publicly question ministers, influence the state budget and approve the appointment of the crown prince – the country’s next ruler.

In his Friday address, Sheikh Meshal blamed unknown political actors for interfering “with the heart of the emir’s purviews and meddled in his choice of a crown prince.”

Some Kuwaitis welcomed the recent suspension as a way to overcome the political gridlock, but others and some political observers cautioned that the emir’s decision “threatens to make Kuwait as authoritarian as the other Gulf monarchies.”

Analysts expressed concern about the potential constitutional amendments that could curb the power of the legislature, and also how domestic dissent would be treated in the next four years.

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