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Kuwait Government
 
 
 

General

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy and has the oldest directly elected parliament among the Arab states in the Persian Gulf. Currently the country is under the reign of the Al-Sabah family. The head of state is the Emir or Sheikh, a hereditary office. A council of ministers, also known as cabinet ministers, aids the prime minister, and appoints and dismisses diplomats. Legislative power is vested in the Emir and the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution. The Emir of Kuwait can dissolve the National Assembly and call a national election, or in cases of national emergency can dismiss the National Assembly outright and assume supreme authority over the country. The Emir is the commander in chief of Kuwait's armed forces. The Emir has authority to grant pardon from the death penalty or prison.

The National Assembly consists of 50 elected members, who are chosen in elections held every four years. Government ministers are also granted membership in the parliament and can number up to 16 excluding the fifty elected members. According to the Constitution of Kuwait, nomination of a new Emir or Crown Prince by the ruling Al-Sabah family has to be approved by the National Assembly. If the nominee does not win the votes of the Assembly, and the Assembly must approve one of them to hold the post. Any amendment to the constitution can be proposed by the Emir but it needs to be approved by more than two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly before being implemented.

There have been several conflicts between the Emir, the government and the National Assembly over various policies. The National Assembly was suspended from 1976 to 1981, from 1986 to 1991 and from May 1999 to July 1999, due to irresolvable conflicts between some members of the government and the Assembly. The Assembly was dissolved again in May 2009 by the Emir leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and the rest of the Cabinet. Nationwide elections were held on 16 May 2009.

More than two-thirds of those who reside in Kuwait do not hold Kuwaiti citizenship and thus cannot vote in parliamentary elections. Additionally, prior to 2005, only 15% of the Kuwaiti population were allowed to vote, with all "recently naturalised" citizens (i.e. less than 30 years of citizenship) and members of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces excluded. On 16 May 2005, Parliament permitted women's suffrage by a 35-23 vote.

The decision raised Kuwait's eligible voter population from 139,000 to about 339,000. In 2006, the number of Kuwaiti citizens was estimated to be more than 960,000. In 2005, the former Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah announced the appointment of the first female cabinet minister, Massouma Mubarak. She was designated Planning Minister and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs. During the 2008 parliamentary elections, 27 of the 275 candidates were women. However, none of them won. In the parliamentary elections on 16 May 2009, 16 female candidates contested for 50 seats for a four-year term. Four female candidates won their seats and became Kuwait's first female lawmakers.

In April 2010, Kuwait's government, unhappy about possible democratic change in Egypt by Mohamed ElBaradei's National Association for Change, deported 17 Egyptians for trying to organise a local chapter of the Association in Kuwait.

Overview

Country name : conventional long form: State of Kuwait

conventional short form: Kuwait

local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt

local short form: Al Kuwayt
Government type : constitutional emirate
Capital : name: Kuwait City

geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions : 6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
Independence : 19 June 1961 (from the UK)
Constitution : approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
Legal system : mixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic religious law
International law organisation participation : has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage : 21 years of age; universal; note - males in the military or police are by law not allowed to vote; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years
Executive branch : chief of state: Emir SABAH Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah (since 29 January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah (born 25 June 1937)

head of government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK Al-Hamad Al-Sabah (since 30 November 2011); First Deputy Prime Minister AHMAD Al-Hamud Al-Jabir Al-Sabah; Deputy Prime Ministers AHMAD AL-KHALID Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, SABAH AL-KHALID Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Mustafa Al-Jassim Al-SHAMALI

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the emir; new cabinet formed in February 2012

elections: none; the emir is hereditary; the emir appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers
Legislative branch : unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (66 seats - 50 members elected by popular vote plus 16 cabinet ministers appointed by the prime minister as ex officio voting members; elected members serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 2 February 2012 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: percent of vote by bloc - NA; seats by bloc - Sunni Islamists 13, Popular Action bloc 13, Shia 7, pro-government Sunni 5, Hadas 4, Islamic Salafi Alliance 4, liberals 2, independents 2
Judicial branch : High Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders : none; formation of political parties is in practice illegal but is not forbidden by law
Political pressure groups and leaders : other: Islamists; merchants; political groups; secular liberals and pro-governmental deputies; Shia activists; tribal groups
International organisation participation : ABEDA, AfDB (non-regional member), AFESD, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US : chief of mission: Ambassador SALIM Al-Abdallah Al-Jabir Al-Sabah

chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702

fax: [1] (202) 364-2868

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US : chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew H. TUELLER

embassy: Bayan 36302, Block 13, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City

mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000

telephone: [965] 2259-1001

fax: [965] 2538-0282
Flag description : three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; colours and design are based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I; green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords, black signifies the defeat of the enemy
National symbol(s) : golden falcon
National anthem : name: "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani" (National Anthem)

lyrics/music: Ahmad MUSHARI al-Adwani/Ibrahim Nasir al-SOULA

note: adopted 1978; the anthem is only used on formal occasions

 

 

 
 


 


 
 

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