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UPDATE 1-Kuwait's ruler dissolves parliament - minister

Sunday, 7 Oct 2012 | 6:32 AM ET

* Sixth dissolution since early 2006

* Parliament had been unable to meet

* Fresh elections within 60 days

(Adds background, detail)

KUWAIT, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Kuwait's ruler ordered the dissolution of parliament on Sunday, a senior government minister said, a step opening the way to a parliamentary election in the major oil-producing Gulf Arab state after months of political deadlock.

The emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, had been widely expected to take the step following a cabinet request to dissolve the assembly. Elections now need to be held within 60 days under constitutional rules.

"The emir issued a decree to dissolve parliament," state news agency KUNA said, citing Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah, who handles cabinet affairs.

Political upheaval is not new to the OPEC member state - this is the sixth dissolution of parliament since early 2006. The turmoil has held up investment projects and economic reforms.

The parliament was last broken up in June by Kuwait's top court over a technicality. The old assembly that the court reinstated had been unable to meet because of a boycott by MPs.

Kuwait, a regional U.S. ally, has a relatively open political system by Gulf standards and has avoided an uprising like those that have ousted dictators in four Arab states since early last year. But tensions have grown between its elected parliament and the hand-picked government, which is dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah family.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Heinrich)

((sylvia.westall@thomsonreuters.com)(+965 2240 8945)(Reuters Messaging: sylvia.westall.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: KUWAIT POLITICS/DISSOLUTION