Kuwait court backs government over petrol price hikes

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Kuwait’s appeals court ruled on Sunday that a government decision to raise petrol prices was in line with the constitution, overturning a decision by a lower court.

It said the decision to raise prices was within the cabinet’s powers.

Ali al-Ali, one of several lawyers who filed the suit against the government, said on Twitter the group intends to challenge the latest ruling in Kuwait’s supreme court, whose decisions are final.

Kuwait has been hit hard by a sharp drop in crude prices since June 2014.

The Opec member recorded a budget shortfall of $15 billion in the fiscal year to March 2016. It was the first deficit since the fiscal year to March 1999.

In response, the government adopted austerity measures including hikes in the prices of electricity, water and fuel. In September, it raised the cost of fuel by up to 80 percent depending on its grade, the first such increase since 1998.

The action was met with stiff opposition by lawmakers, who this month filed motions to question the prime minister in parliament over the price hike and other issues.

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