Kuwait's emir has dissolved parliament and called for new parliamentary elections to resolve a growing political crisis.

Kuwaiti state media say Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah announced Wednesday in a nationally-televised speech that early elections will be held on May 17.

This comes two days after Kuwait's Cabinet resigned to protest what it said was a lack of cooperation from the opposition-dominated parliament. The move prompted the emir to cut short an overseas holiday and return to Kuwait for consultations with Kuwaiti leaders.

Kuwait's government and parliament have been locked in a power struggle that has delayed passage of key economic reforms.

Opposition lawmakers want to award civil servants another pay raise, a demand opposed by the government, which already granted such a salary increase last month.

Kuwait's government also opposes a move by lawmakers to force the state to pay off the consumer debt of private citizens. The government has pushed for reforms to diversify the economy away from oil and turn Kuwait into a financial hub similar to Bahrain and Dubai.

Kuwait introduced parliamentary democracy in 1962, but Kuwaiti emirs remain the ultimate authority in the country and have dissolved the legislature four times.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.