Protesters have taken to the streets of Kuwait City to criticise a constitutional court ruling that declared parliamentary elections in February illegal and reinstated the previous parliament.

The National Assembly elections saw the opposition dominate and replace a more pro-regime parliament.

That election result was torpedoed by the court ruling, which protesters said followed opposition calls for a constitutional monarchy with a full parliamentary system.

"This is the beginning of the road to a constitutional monarchy," prominent opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak told protesters.

"We call on the authorities to issue a new decree to dissolve the 2009 parliament."

Protesters rallied in Erada Square opposite the parliament building and chanted: "We will not surrender."

"We came here to say no to the previous parliament because its members were corrupt," Khaled al-Khalifa, 24, told Reuters. "They stole the people's money."

Kuwait's elected parliament has legislative power but the emir is head of the government and appoints the prime minister.

He also has the ability to dissolve parliament, send back laws for reconsideration, promulgate laws and appoint military officers.

Opposition leaders have criticised the ruling al-Sabah family for maintaining a tight grip on power through the emir's role.

The government also resigned following the court ruling. It had been in office for just over four months.

Islamist MP Faisal al-Muslim said opposition groups would fight back by calling for the same reforms in the next parliamentary election campaign. It wanted "comprehensive constitutional and legislative reforms", he said.

Obaid al-Wasmi, a member of the dissolved parliament, backed Muslim and urged the government to accept "fundamental constitutional reforms that must lead to forming an elected government and a full parliamentary system".

Kuwait's parliament has been dissolved on five occasions and the government has resigned nine times since 2006.