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Kuwait succession getting more complicated

KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The question of who should succeed late Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah is dividing the ruling family in light of the crown prince's physical condition.

Hours after Crown Prince Saad al-Abdullah Salem al-Sabah, who has been ill for years and is considered to be unfit to rule, requested an extraordinary parliamentary session Tuesday night to take the oath to become sitting emir, the Kuwaiti government, led by powerful Prime Minister Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, demanded a parliamentary meeting to discuss the crown prince's physical disabilities.

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The government requested a special session of parliament Tuesday to debate the prince's health conditions as a prelude to declaring him physically unfit to rule, the Kuwaiti News Agency, KUNA, reported.

The Kuwaiti constitution has no article on power rotation, which is determined by the Emirate's Inheritance Law under which the crown prince automatically succeeds the ruler but must take the oath before parliament before becoming emir.

Article Three of the Inheritance Law says if the emir lacks "any of the requirements or lost the physical capacity to assume his responsibilities, the government should debate the matter with parliament in a private session, after proving the emir's disabilities."

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The article underlines that "if the parliament has definite proof of the emir's inability to rule, it can decided with a two-third majority of its members to transfer the emir's powers to his crown prince, whether temporarily or permanently."

But now, Kuwait has no crown prince, since the latter became emir after Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed died a week ago.

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