Kuwait is a constitutional emirate (not kingdom) with a parliamentary system. The leader of the country is called Emir (Amir). Each Emir is the heir of Al Sabah royal family, which rules this emirate since 1752. The first Emir of Kuwait was Sabah I Al-Jaber Al-Sabah or His Highness the first Monarch of Kuwait, the Cavalry Commander from the Tribes of Arabia Chieftain. Nowadays, emirate has three authorities: judicial, executive and legislative. The National Assembly consists of 50 members, who stand for the rights of people. (bbc 29/October/2013)
Constitution in Kuwait consists of regulations and judicial laws, which were adopted in 1962. Kuwaiti constitution is considered the oldest one among Arabic countries. It contains 183 articles. Since the emirate has parliamentary system, in case the law should be edited or added, the National Assembly and the Prince vote for the changes. The bill is approved if the majority votes for it. Individual freedom, equality of citizens before the law, freedom of expression of thoughts are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Emir, the head of emirate is controlling all other authorities. He is responsible for the most important governmental decisions such as the selection of the next Crown Prince and prime minister. He may change them whenever he wants. In case Emir leaves the country for some time, the Crown Prince takes his responsibilities until Emir returns back. Emir can initialize the changes to the constitution. He is the chief-executive of the Army.
The legislative authority in Kuwait is represented by The National Assembly. It has a constitutional right to agree with the appointment of Emir. In 2006, The National Assembly voted for Saad al-Sabah’s resignation from the post of Emir due to his illness and inability to rule the emirate.
The National Assembly (Parliament) consists of 50 deputies elected for 4 years. A man is allowed to become a deputy if he settled in Kuwait before 1920 or was naturalized more than 30 years ago. The composition of the National Assembly includes the whole Cabinet of Ministers.
In order to vote, the person should be:
Citizen of Kuwait
He should be 30 or older
He should know Arabic.
Executive authority is taking care of the interests of the emirate and the government. They also approve new laws or changes to them.
The Emir selects the prime minister who selects the members of the cabinet of Ministers. The arrangement of another government requires the endorsement of the National Assembly.
No less than one individual from this cabinet should be a deputy, elected to the National Assembly. In 1992, the cabinet contained six representatives of the National Assembly, the biggest amount in Kuwaiti history. The current government has two chosen representatives from the Assembly.
These are the main responsibilities of the Constitution’s executive authority:
Organization of public institutions
Taxation, public funding
Attract investments and fight against monopolies in terms of laws
The judicial authority is fighting for justice, equality of people, guarantee of their freedom and rights. The laws are applied to all people in the same manner. Since Kuwait is a Muslim emirate, it is based on Sharia Law, Islamic legal system. The Constitution (Chapter 5) sets out the basic principles of justice. It proclaims the independence of judges, protects them from any pressure in the administration of justice and guarantees the openness of the court process except in special cases provided by law. (Acrli.org, 2014). The Kuwait judiciary is a moderately independent body. Each administrative district has its Summary Court (additionally called Courts of First Instance which are made out of one or more divisions, similar to a Traffic Court or an Administrative Court); then there is Court of Appeals; Cassation Court and finally - a Constitutional Court which translates the constitution and manages question identified with the legality of laws.
Parliament/ (national Assembly):
Consists of fifty members who take care of five districts of Kuwait. Fifty deputies are chosen by prevalent vote to serve four-year terms. Members of the Cabinet of Ministers may also represent deputies in the parliament. According to the constitution, the cabinet can maximum have 16 seats. Each cabinet should have 1 member of the Parliament. The election it taking place every four years. The distribution of the seats happens like this: Election is held in every district. Ten candidates from each district who receive the majority of votes are elected to the Parliament. So, every district, no matter its size and population has the same amount of representatives. Every citizen, male or female, can vote in case he or she is older than 21. Until 2005 Kuwaiti women did not have a right to vote. (BBC News, 2013)
Protest and opponent:
The mass protests in Kuwait began in February, 2011. The relatively calm demonstrations in Kuwait a mass protest, following the wave of demonstrations that swept the Arab world in 2011.
The protests began with numerous demonstrations of stateless Arab residents of the country — the "bidun", protesting against their powerless position. The protesters demanded the granting of citizenship, the right to work, free education and medical care.
On February, 18 about 30 people were injured in clashes between police and bidun. The demonstration started in the town of al-Jahra, located on the North of Kuwait city, the capital of Kuwait. Over a thousand of people, mostly bidun were there. The security forces dispersed the crowd using stun grenades, smoke grenades and water cannon, dozens of protesters were arrested. The statement of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the country said that the protesters threw rocks at police and disobeyed the authorities to disperse.140 people were arrested, however, most of them were released the next day.
On February 19, police used tear gas to disperse a rally of about 300 people, which was held in es-Salbei, a suburb of the capital. The security forces of Kuwait were informed in advance about the impending rebellion through social networks, which were used to organize the demonstrations. Police and soldiers attacked the demonstrators, using tear gas. During the riot,7 people were injured. On March 8, more than a thousand people, mostly adult, took to the streets of the capital of Kuwait with the requirements of the political reform. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, a nephew of the Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, as well as amendments to the Constitution.
On March 11 the protest, which was attended by about 200 people, was held in the capital of Kuwait. Residents of the Emirate without citizenship — the bidun — gathered in the center of Kuwait city and demanded the same rights as those other Kuwaitis, namely citizenship, free education, medical care and jobs. To disperse the demonstrators Kuwaiti police used tear gas. Later on, Emir of the country Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has accepted the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah (Al Arabia, 2011).
The 2012 demonstration was held because of the law that allowed the voter to have 4 votes. It lasted for 6 months and the amount of protestants reached up to 7500 people. The demonstrators required the change of the government and changes to the constitution (Aljazeera.com, 2012)
The demonstrations, corruption of 2011 government led to serious problems, however, this country did everything for sake of justice, freedom and equality of people. The government should hold a referendum and once and forever decide, what politics is better for the people. If 80% of the population claims that 4 votes for one should stay – then the government must accept this.
Iml.jou.ufl.edu. 2014. About Kuwait- Politics. [online] Available at: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring06/eisa/politics.html [Accessed: 8 Mar 2014].
Acrli.org, (2014). Kuwait. [online] Available at: http://www.acrli.org/countryprofiles/kuwait.html [Accessed 22 May. 2014].
Aljazeera.com, (2012). Thousands protest in Kuwait City. [online] Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/2012128221147263300.html [Accessed 9 Dec. 2012].
BBC News, (2013). Q&A: Kuwait parliamentary election. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23449066 [Accessed 26 Jul. 2013].