The government of Kuwait, officially the State of Kuwait, is a constitutional monarchy.
Political Map of Kuwait
Important government figures
Important government figures
Government Unitary parliamentary
hereditary (minor succession within
the House of Babah), constitutional
monarchy, de jure non-partisan
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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).
Born 25 June 1937 in Kuwait City, Steikhdom of Kuwait.
Crown Prince of Kuwait and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Military of
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
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.
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.
Member of and current speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly;
represents the country’s second district.
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.