Kuwait. In the recent parliamentary elections on 16 May, women were elected for the first time. Former Health Minister Masuma al-Mubarak, women’s rights activist Rula Dashti and the two professors Aseel al-Awadhi and Salwa al-Jassar were each given their mandate. Islamist groups lost eight seats and remained at 16, but still had great influence as they allied themselves with clan-based members. The Shiite members increased from five to nine. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation KW which stands for the nation of Kuwait.
According to countryaah, the background to the recent election was the power struggle between the government and parliament that has been going on since 2008. Prime Minister Nasser Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and his government had resigned on March 16 to escape the opposition’s plans to inquire al-Sabah in parliament, among other things. his economic policy. The Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir as-Sabah, had then dissolved parliament and announced new elections. In anticipation of this, the government continued to rule as an expedition minister, pushing through an economic stimulus package worth US $ 5.15 billion. The package’s loan guarantees and other measures aimed to help banks and other financial institutions through the ongoing global financial crisis. After the election, the Emir re-elected al-Sabah at the Prime Minister’s post.
Six members of a terrorist group with links to the al-Qaeda network were reported in August to have been arrested, accused of planning attacks on, among other things, the Kuwaiti Security Service headquarters and the US base Arifran south of Kuwait City, where 15,000 US troops were stationed.
37 women and six children were killed when a party tent caught fire at a wedding party in the city of al-Jahra on August 15. The groom’s ex-wife reportedly admitted that she brought the fire.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 289,700,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||-3.30%|
|GDP per capita||$ 65,800|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||–|
|Distribution of household income|
|Top 10%||k. A.|
|Lower 10%||k. A.|
|Industrial production growth rate||1.60%|
|Investment volume||29.6% of GDP|
|National debt||20.60% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 33,130,000,000|
Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy of the Persian Gulf area that became independent in 1961, the year in which the United Kingdom gave up exercising its sovereignty over the territory. Kuwait’s regional and international significance derives from the country’s geographic location – located at the top of the Gulf – and its huge oil resources, making it the sixth country in the world for proven resources.
Also because of its geostrategic importance, in 1990 Kuwait was the victim of the invasion by Iraq, led by the then president Saddam Hussein, who claimed Iraqi sovereignty over the entire territory of Kuwait. This act, condemned by most Arab countries, was at the origin of the 1990-91 Gulf War. Expired vain limit fixed by a resolution of the United Nations (A) calling for the withdrawal of troops, an international coalition led by the United States intervened in defense of Kuwaiti sovereignty. The withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait took place on February 27, 1991, after the coalition had also penetrated Iraqi territory without, however, succeeding in overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Relations with Iraq have only improved in recent years, after the fall of the Iraqi rais in 2003, although there are still unresolved issues that could restore a climate of tension: the country fears, especially since 2014, that insecurity Iraqi – characterized by the emergence of the jihadist group of the Is (Islamic State) – may also have repercussions internally. To date, Kuwait has received nearly 30 of the $ 41 billion due from Iraq for war damage.
Given its strategic link with the United States, Kuwait, like the other Arab Gulf countries, has problematic relations with Iran, although in recent years it has tried to adopt a more conciliatory policy towards Tehran. In addition, Kuwait acted as a mediator within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), partially mending the diplomatic rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A controversial aspect of Kuwait is represented by the accusations of other regional actors of being one of the transit countries for financing jihadist groups operating in Syria and Iraq, given its less restrictive laws than other countries in terms of controls on financial flows.
Relations with other regional actors are generally good, mediated by membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Gulf Cooperation Council. In particular, Kuwait’s political line aligns with that of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as evidenced by the common hostility to Islamic party groups that are emerging in the Middle East. In the aftermath of the ousting of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Mursi from the presidency in Egypt, Kuwait did his utmost to pour large sums of money into the coffers of the Central Bank and sent petroleum products to the country for a total of one billion dollars.
Although from an institutional point of view, the royal family of al-Sabah exercises undisputed power over the emirate, keeping all key executive posts firmly in their hands, parties are prohibited and Kuwait is therefore classified by “The Economist” among the authoritarian regimes, the country is now one of the least illiberal in the entire Gulf area in terms of civil liberties. Precisely because of its less authoritarian nature than other Gulf actors, Kuwait often witnesses tensions between the executive and the legislative.
Kuwait has established since its independence a unicameral National Assembly, made up of 50 members and renewed every four years, making it the oldest parliamentary system in the Gulf. This parliament, whose members are directly elected by the people, has often had fluctuating relations, even conflict, with the ruling family. For this reason, the emir, who is also the head of state, has dissolved parliament several times before its term: since 2006 there have been six different elections for the renewal of the National Assembly. After the negative experience of the two electoral rounds held in 2012 – one of which was boycotted by the opposition -, the last elections of 2013 returned an inclusive and heterogeneous parliament. Tribal representatives secured nearly half of the seats, and three more went to liberal candidates from the National Democratic Alliance who had previously been part of the boycott coalition. On the other hand, the Shiite minority (equal to about one third of the Kuwaiti population) was the loser, this time only getting eight seats, while in December 2012 it had won a record number of 17 seats.