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Politics of Kuwait

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  • 1. Politics of Kuwait BENEDICT GOMBOCZ
  • 2. Background  The government of Kuwait, officially the State of Kuwait, is a constitutional monarchy.
  • 3. Political Map of Kuwait
  • 4. Important government figures Important government figures  Government Unitary parliamentary hereditary (minor succession within the House of Babah), constitutional monarchy, de jure non-partisan democracy  Emir Sabah al-Sabah  Crown Prince Nawaf al-Sabah  Prime Minister Jaber Al-Hamad al-Sabah  Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim  Legislature National Assembly National Assembly of Kuwait
  • 5. Constitution  The Constitution of Kuwait, ratified in 1962, has components of a presidential and a parliamentary type of government.  The Emir serves as the head of State and exercises the authority to nominate the PM.  Both the Emir and the judicially independent Constitutional Court have the power to dissolve the parliament.  Kuwait’s parliament (per article 3 of the Constitution) has the constitutional right to approve and disapprove of a nomination made by the Emir; as such, the parliament exercises the authority to legally remove an Emir from his position.  In 2006, for instance, the parliament successfully removed the Emir from his position because of his illness.  While the Constitution clearly supports political organizations, they are still forbidden because there no law has been passed to outline and legalize them.  MPs often serve as Independents or as members of some loose affiliation or group on the basis of beliefs, sect, class, or clan.  Citizens age twenty-one and older, if they are not currently serving in the military nor have been legally found guilty of a crime, are eligible to vote.  Parliamentary candidates must also be eligible to vote; they have to be at least thirty years old.
  • 6. Elections  The Parliament is made up of fifty members who are elected in districts that use the first past the post-voting process.  The major groups (de facto parties) are the following:  National Democratic Alliance: Secular, neo-liberal group. Has its own TV channel, Nabeeha Tahalof, and publishes the newspaper Al-Jarida.  Democratic Foundation of Kuwait: leftist political group that is made up of social democrats, pan Arabs, and liberals. Run a weekly newspaper called Al-Talea. Its candidates are generally supported by the Youth Association of Kuwait, its de facto youth branch.  Popular Action Bloc: Secular nationalists, populists, and progressives. Often give attention to populist issues, such as funding for housing.  Hadas: Sunni Islamists. Frequently referred to as the Islamic Constitutional Movement; has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.  National Islamic Alliance: Moderate Shia Islamists who give attention to Arabist issues.  Justice and Peace Alliance: Shia liberals and moderates.  Independents: Non-affiliated; are often liberals and sympathetic to the ruling family.
  • 7. National Issues  Within two quarrelsome issues that led to six different elections between 1991 and 2008 are issues that relate to the electoral procedure and the ruling family’s participation in the government.  Other notable points of debate are the denial of female participation in the electoral process before 2005, the minimum voting age of twenty-one, and the fact that the existence of parties are still prohibited.
  • 8. 2013 elections  The most recent elections took place on July 27, 2013.  Voter turnout was an estimated 52.5%; despite an opposition boycott, this was a higher turnout than what was expected.  Ironically, voter turnout was only 7% lower than the turnout of the non-boycotted February 2012 elections (59%).  Liberals were the biggest winners of the July 2013 election.  Liberal policymakers, according to the Associated Press, won no more than six seats.  The Congressional Research Service stated that liberals gained nine seats, which made them the biggest political faction in the parliament after Independents who support the government.  Fox News stated that the tribal group gained no more than ten seats in the fifty-member parliament.  At least two women were elected.  The Shia faction diminished to eight seats after they gained seventeen seats in December 2012.  Sunni Islamists gained three seats.
  • 9. Sabah al-Sabah Sabah al-Sabah  Born 16 June 1929 in Kuwait City, Streikhdom of Kuwait.  5th and current Emir of Kuwait and the Commander of the Military of Kuwait.  Assumed office on 29 January 2006, having been confirmed by the National Assembly of Kuwait.  Fourth son of the 10th ruler of Kuwait, Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.  Is, as of 2014, also head of the Sabah monarchy.  Received his primary education at Al Mubarakya School in the 1930s, and then finished his education under tutors.  Half-brother of former Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber III al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who nominated Sabah as PM in July 2003, thereby replacing the then Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah.  Previously served as Foreign Minister for forty years (1963-2003), making him one of the world’s longest serving foreign ministers.  His wife, Sheikha Fatuwah (also his cousin) died before August 1990.  Has two sons, Sheikh Nasser (Minister of the Ruler's Court “Diwan Amiri”) and Sheikh Hamed.  Also had two other children who died (His daughter, Sheikha Salwa, died of breast cancer in London on 23 June 2002- the Emir named his palace “Dar Salwa”, or the “House of Salwa” after her; his third son, Sheikh Ahmed, was killed in a car accident in 1969). Picture
  • 10. Nawaf al-Sabah Nawaf al-Sabah  Born 25 June 1937 in Kuwait City, Steikhdom of Kuwait.  Crown Prince of Kuwait and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Military of Kuwait.  Half-brother of the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.  Was appointed Crown Prince on 7 February 2006, which broke with the Al- Sabah family’s tradition, which alternates the offices of Emir and Crown Prince between the Al-Ahmad and Al-Salem branches.  A son of the 10th Ruler of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.  Enrolled in a university in the United Kingdom after he finished his secondary education.  One of the most senior serving members of the House of Sabah.  Served as the Governor of Hawalli Governorate from 1962 to 1978; was subsequently nominated as the third acting Deputy PM and Minister of the Interior of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior from March 19, 1978 until July 12, 1986.  Was then nominated Deputy PM and Minister of Defense on January 26, 1988.  Reassumed the position of Deputy PM and Minister of the Interior on July 13, 2003 until his naming as the official Crown Prince of Kuwait in 2006.  Is married; has four sons and one daughter. Picture
  • 11. Jaber Al-Hamad al-Sabah Jaber Al-Hamad al-Sabah  Born 5 January 1942 in Kuwait City.  Member of the Kuwaiti ruling family and PM of Kuwait since 4 December 2011, having been nominated the same day.  Was reappointed as PM by the ruler of Kuwait on 5 December 2012 after the parliamentary election four days earlier.  Also served as first Deputy PM and Minister of Defense.  Started his career as an advisor at the administrative affairs department in the Amiri Diwan in 1968, serving there until 1971; later served as director of the administrative affairs department in the Diwan until 1975.  Went on to become assistant undersecretary of administrative and financial affairs at the Diwan until 1979; became a governor the same year, and served at Hawally and Ahmedy from 1979 to 1985 and 1985 to 1986, respectively.  Was named the minister of social and labor affairs, serving from 1986 to 1988; was also subsequently the minister of information from 1988 to 1990.  Became an advisor to the office of the Amir, a post he occupied until 2001, after Kuwait was liberated ten years earlier; was named as Deputy PM and Minister of Defense on 14 February 2001. Picture
  • 12. Marzouq Al-Ghanim Marzouq Al-Ghanim  Member of and current speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly; represents the country’s second district.  Born 1968.  Obtained a BA in mechanical engineering, working for Bouyan Petrochemicals prior to his 2006 election to the National Assembly.  Considers himself an independent deputy and usually votes with the other left-leaning businessman members.  Son of Faiza Al-Kharafi. Picture
  • 13. The End (‫)النهاية‬