EMBASSY OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT
H.E. Mr. Yousef Ahmad S. ABDULSAMAD
Political culture in Kuwait
Regionally, Kuwait is noted for having a robust public sphere and active civil society with greater freedom for political and social organizations that are parties in everything but name. Professional groups like the Chamber of Commerce maintain their autonomy from the government.
The National Assembly is the legislature and has oversight authority. The National Assembly consists of fifty elected members, who are chosen in elections held every four years. Since the parliament can conduct inquiries into government actions and pass motions of no confidence, checks and balances are robust in Kuwait. The parliament can be dissolved under a set of conditions based on constitutional provisions. The Constitutional Court and Emir both have the power to dissolve the parliament, although the Constitutional Court can invalidate the Emir’s dissolve.
Executive power is executed by the government. The Emir appoints the prime minister, who in turn chooses the ministers comprising the government. According to the constitution, at least one minister has to be an elected MP from the parliament. The parliament is often rigorous in holding the government accountable, government ministers are frequently interpellated and forced to resign. Kuwait has more government accountability and transparency than other GCC countries.
The judiciary is nominally independent of the executive and the legislature, and the Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The judiciary’s independence has come under question, although the Constitutional Court is widely regarded as one of the most judicially independent courts in the Arab world. The Constitutional Court has the power to dissolve the parliament and invalidate the Emir’s decrees, as what happened in 2013 when the dissolved 2009 parliament resumed its role.
The State of Kuwait, is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. As of 2014, Kuwait has a population of 4.2 million people; 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 2.9 million are expatriates.
Oil reserves were discovered in 1938. From 1946 to 1982, the country underwent large-scale modernization. In the 1980s, Kuwait experienced a period of geopolitical instability and an economic crisis following the stock market crash. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. The Iraqi occupation came to an end in 1991 after military intervention by United States-led forces. At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.
Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a high income economy backed by the world’s sixth largest oil reserves. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world. According to the World Bank, the country has the fourth highest per capita income in the world. The constitution was promulgated in 1962, making Kuwait the most politically progressive country in the region. In recent years, political instability has hindered the country’s economic development.