KUWAIT - Kuwait's ruling Al-Sabah family issued a rare statement on Thursday calling for obedience to the emir after a series of opposition gatherings and a large rally earlier this week.

The Gulf oil producer has seen regular demonstrations since last year, stemming from a struggle between the government dominated by the ruling family and mainly Islamist and tribal lawmakers in parliament.

But tensions have increased after Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved parliament last week. Opposition figures say they fear the cabinet will try to push through new voting rules that could help pro-government candidates in an election expected later this year.

"His Highness the Crown Prince, in his capacity as President of the Council, would ... like to assert His Highness the Emir's right to be obeyed," said the statement from the Al-Sabah family council published on state news agency KUNA's English service.

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