KUWAIT - Kuwait warned on Friday that it would not allow any unlicensed protest marches over a court ruling next week which will say whether a new electoral system introduced by the country's ruler is constitutional.
Ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah used emergency powers in October last year to change voting rules, six weeks before the major oil producer was due to hold parliamentary elections.
Opposition politicians boycotted the poll, and on the eve of the election tens of thousands of Kuwaitis marched in protest against the decree.
The case is also sensitive because it questions the emir, who is described as "immune and inviolable" in the constitution.
"Whatever the decision of the constitutional court, we will never allow any rallies or marches outside Erada Square," a statement from the Interior Ministry said, referring to a designated protest area opposite parliament.
Any protesters who break the law will be dealt with "firmly", the statement on state news agency KUNA said.
The government said the new system, which cut the number of votes per person to one from four, brought Kuwait in line with other countries. But opposition politicians said the decree was an attempt to stop them from forming a majority or bloc in parliament.