The State of Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a
parliamentary system of government. Kuwait gained
independence from the UK on June 19, 1961. Its constitution,
which combines aspects of both presidential and
parliamentary systems of government, was approved and put
into effect in 1962.
The chief of state is the Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-
Sabah (since 2006), and the Crown Prince is Nawafal-Ahmad
The head of government is the Prime Minister, Jabir Al-Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 2011). The first Deputy Prime Minister is Ahmad al-Hamud al-Jabir al-Sabah, and the Deputy Prime Ministers are Ahmad Al-Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, Sabah Al-Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, and Mustafa al-Jassim al-Shamali.
The Emir is a hereditary position, and it is the Emir who
appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers.
There is a Cabinet/Council of Ministers that is appointed by
the Prime Minister and approved by the Emir, with the most recent
cabinet being formed in February 2012.
Kuwait's National Assembly has 66 seats, of which 50 are
elected by popular vote and 16 cabinet ministers are appointed
by the Prime Minster). Elected members serve four years. (The
most recent elections were in February 2012.)
Kuwait has a civil law system, with Sharia law significantly used
for personal matters. The judiciary is independent. In each
of the country's six governorates there is a summary court.
There is also a court of appeals, a Cassation Court, and a
There are a number of political groups that act as de facto
parties and several legislative voting blocs in the National
Assembly (i.e., tribal groups, merchants, Shi'ite activists,
secular liberals, etc.), but formation of political parties
is in practice illegal.
Adult males and females (since 2005) aged 21+ are allowed to
vote; naturalized citizens can vote only after they have
been citizens for at least 20 years. Males in the military
or who are members of the police are not allowed to vote.