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Kuwait court dissolves Parliament; elections ahead

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait’s constitutional court forced new parliamentary elections Sunday, dissolving the current chamber on the basis of flaws in the election law, the state news agency reported. The decision may set the stage for a new wave of political showdowns.

The ruling follows objections to the voting law in December’s election, which was boycotted by opposition groups and others who said the new rules favored Kuwait’s ruling family and were imposed without public debate.

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The official Kuwait News Agency said the court’s decision ‘‘invalidates’’ the 50-member chamber.

Other local media said the decision was over technicalities in the rules, and the court upheld controversial regulations that brought a one-person, one-vote system in place of the former rules that allowed voters to cast ballots for multiple candidates.

The government and other backers of the new system contend that multiple votes opened the way for pressures on voters to favor tribal or political blocs. Islamist groups and other opposition factions say the one-vote system is an attempt by Kuwait’s leaders to weaken antigovernment voices.

Kuwait allows the most political openness among the Persian Gulf’s Arab states, and opposition groups have sharply stepped up pressures on the Western-backed ruling family in recent years.

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