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UPDATE 1-Kuwait's ruler dissolves parliament - minister

* 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 thedissolution of parliament on Sunday, a senior governmentminister said, a step opening the way to a parliamentaryelection in the major oil-producing Gulf Arab state after monthsof political deadlock.

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

"The emir issued a decree to dissolve parliament," statenews agency KUNA said, citing Information Minister SheikhMohammad 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 economicreforms.

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

Kuwait, a regional U.S. ally, has a relatively openpolitical system by Gulf standards and has avoided an uprisinglike those that have ousted dictators in four Arab states sinceearly last year. But tensions have grown between its electedparliament and the hand-picked government, which is dominated bythe ruling Al-Sabah family.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Torchia andMark Heinrich)

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

Keywords: KUWAIT POLITICS/DISSOLUTION

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