National Assembly of Kuwait

National Assembly of Kuwait
National Assembly of Kuwait
11th Sesion
Coat of arms or logo
Founded 1963
Type Unicameral
Speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi
since 1999
Members 50
Last election May 16, 2009
Meeting place
2005-04-27 Koweït 003.jpg
Kuwait City

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The National Assembly of Kuwait, known as the Majlis Al-Umma ("House of the Nation") (Arabic: مجلس الأمة‎), is the legislature of Kuwait. The current speaker of the Assembly is Jassem Al-Kharafi. The Emir unconstitutionally dissolved the National Assembly in 1986 and restored it after the Gulf War in 1992. The Emir has also constitutionally dissolved the Assembly several times—meaning that he dissolved it but allowed for elections immediately afterward.

Until recently, suffrage was limited to male Kuwaiti citizens above the age of 21 whose ancestors had resided in Kuwait since 1920, and adult males who have been naturalized citizens for at least 20 years. On May 16, 2005, however, the Assembly passed a law in support of women's suffrage, allowing women to vote and run for office. The fifty-seat assembly is elected every four years. Currently there are five geographically distributed electoral districts. Every eligible citizen is entitled to four votes, though one may choose to only cast one vote. The ten candidates with the most votes in each district win seats. Cabinet ministers (including the prime minister) are granted automatic membership in the Assembly, which increases the number of members in the assembly from fifty to sixty-six. The Cabinet ministers have the same rights as the elected MPs, with the following two exceptions: they do not participate in the work of committees, and they cannot vote when an interpolation leads to a no-confidence vote against one of the Cabinet members.[1]



The parliament building was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who also designed the Sydney Opera House.[2]


The Emir of Kuwait has the power to dissolve the assembly and call for new elections within two months. The Emir has done so on five separate occasions. On two of those, the assembly was dissolved unconstitutionally, since no new elections were held within the legally required period, and the Emir of Kuwait then ruled by decree. The first case was from 1976 until 1981, and the second one from 1986 until 1992. On three other occasions, the Emir dissolved the Assembly and held new elections immediately afterward. This happened in 1999, in 2006, and most recently in March 2009. The 2006 dissolution was brought by what is locally known as the Kuwaiti Orange Movement, when Kuwaitis held mass protests and demonstrations to demand that electoral districts be reduced in number from twenty-five to five.

List of members

District Name Affiliation Religion Prior experience Education Assumed office Born in Tribe
First Abdullah Al-Roumi Independent (Liberal-leaning) Sunni Lawyer Law 1985 1949
First Adnan Zahid Abdulsamad National Islamic Alliance Shia Oil Ministry Political Science 1981 1950
First Faisal Duwaisan Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia High School Diploma 2009 1964
First Hassan Jawhar Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Professor at Kuwait University PhD in Political Science 1996 1960
First Hussein AlـQallaf Al-Bahraini Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Sharia 1996 1958
First Hussein Nasser Al-Huraiti Independent (close to government) Sunni Judge, Lawyer Law 2006 1962 Al-Awazem
First Masuma Al-Mubarak Liberal, Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Professor, Kuwait University Poli Sci PhD, University of Denver 2009 1952
First Mikhled Al-Azmi Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Municipal Council Geography 1996 1961 Al-Awazem
First Saleh Ashour Justice and Peace Alliance Shia Kuwait Air Force Economics 1999 1952
First Yusif Al-Zalzala Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Dean, Kuwait University PhD in Statistics, Colorado State University 2003 1959
Second Abdul Rahman Al-Anjari Liberal Sunni BA, Business Administration 2009 1957 Banu Tamim
Second Adnan Al-Mutawa Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Engineering 2009 1954
Second Ali Al-Rashid National Democratic Alliance Sunni Lawyer JD, International Arab University 2003 1967
Second Jamaan Al-Harbash Hadas Sunni Professor PhD in Islamic Ideology 2006 1970
Second Jassem Al-Kharafi Independent (businessman/liberal) Sunni Director of Al-Kharafi Group Business Administration, Manchester Trade Faculty 1975 1940
Second Khalaf Dmaithir Conservative Sunni 2009 1946 Al-Enezi
Second Khaled AlـSultan Bin Essa Islamic Salafi Alliance Sunni Chairman of Kuwait Graduates Society 2008 1940
Second Marzouq Al-Ghanim Independent (businessman/liberal-leaning) Sunni Petrochemicals Mechanical Engineering 2008 1968
Second Mohammed AlـMutair Islamist (businessman/Salafi) Sunni Investment Company Business 2003 1969
Second Salwa al-Jassar Conservative Sunni Professor of Education, Kuwait University MA and PhD in Education, University of Michigan 2009 1957
Third Aseel Al-Awadi Liberal Sunni Municipal Professor, Kuwait University 2009 1969
Third Adel Al-Saraawi Islamist Independent Sunni Office for Assessment of Iraq Invasion Damage Accounting 2003 1962
Third Ahmed Al-Sadoun Popular Action Bloc Sunni Literature 1975 1934
Third Ali Al-Omair Islamic Salafi Alliance Sunni Professor PhD in Chemistry 2006 1958
Third Faisal Al-Muslim Al-Otaib Islamist (Independent) Sunni Professor MA in Political History, University of Wales 2003 1962 Al-Otaibi
Third Naji Abdalhadi Independent Sunni Engineer 1992 1955
Third Rola Dashti Liberal, Shia (unaffiliated) Shia PhD in Population Economics, Johns Hopkins 2009 1964
Third Roudhan Al-Roudhan Conservative Sunni Diploma of Institute of Applied Sciences and Tech 2009 1961
Third Saleh Al-Mulla Liberal Sunni Diplomat BA in Business, Kuwait University 2008 1971
Third Waleed AlـTabtabaie Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Professor, Kuwait University PhD in Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar 1996 1964
Fourth Ali Al-Daqbaashi Islamist (close to government) Sunni Management 2003 1965 Al-Rashaydah
Fourth Askar Al-Enezi Sunni 2008 Al-Enezi
Fourth Daifallah Bouramiya Islamist (Independent) Sunni Doctor MA in Public Health 2003 1957 Al-Mutairi
Fourth Hussein Mazyid Al-Mutairi Sunni 2009 1955 Al-Mutairi
Fourth Mohammed Hayef AlـMutairi Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Kuwait Municipality Islamic Studies 2008 1964 Al-Mutairi
Fourth Mubarak Al-Khirinj Independent Sunni 2009 1948 Al-Rashaydah
Fourth Mubarak Al-Waalan Conservative Sunni Political Science 2009 1959 Al-Mutairi
Fourth Musallam AlـBarrak Popular Action Bloc Sunni Municipal Council Arabic literature 1996 1956 Al-Mutairi
Fourth Saad AlـKhanfour Al-Rasheedi Independent Sunni Interior Ministry 2008 1965 Al-Rashaydah
Fourth Shuaib Al-Muaizri Conservative Sunni Police 2009 1959 Al-Mutairi
Fifth Alsaifi Al-Ajmi Independent Sunni 2009 1961 Al-Ajman
Fifth Badi Al-Dusari Independent Sunni PhD, Sports Administration 2009 1963 Al-Dosari
Fifth Dlaihi Al-Hajiri Independent Sunni High School diploma 2009 1958 Al-Hajiri
Fifth Falah Al-Azmi Independent Sunni High School diploma 2008 1961 Al-Awazem
Fifth Ghanem Al-Mai Independent Sunni Ministry of Education Literature 2003 1958 Al-Awazem
Fifth Khalid Al-Tahus Independent Sunni Engineering 2009 1974 Al-Ajman
Fifth Mohammed AlـHuwaila Al-Ajmi Independent Sunni Professor PhD in Management, Yarmouk University 2008 1971 Al-Ajman
Fifth Saad Znaifir Al-Azmi Independent Sunni Middle School 2009 1950 Al-Awazem
Fifth Sadoon Al-Otaibi Independent Sunni 2008 1959 Al-Otaibi
Fifth Salim Al-Azmi Sunni MA, Law 2009 1967 Al-Awazem

Sources: Kuwait Politics Database, 2008 Election Results

Political factions

While political parties are not legally recognized in Kuwait, a number of political factions exist. The assembly is composed of different unofficial political factions in addition to independents:

  • The Islamic bloc: Consisting mainly of Salafi and Hadas members. The Islamic bloc is the most influential bloc in the assembly with around 21 members elected in the 2008 national elections (17 in the 2006 election), although its loose organization made it less effective. Their chief goal is the complete return of the Shari'a law. Bills supported by the Islamic bloc include the elimination of co-education at the university level (passed in 1998).
  • The Shaabi (populist) bloc: A coalition of independents and other nationalist parties with a focus on lower- and middle-class issues. In 2006 national elections, they won around 10 seats of the parliament.
  • The liberal bloc: With eight members elected in the 2006 elections. The liberal bloc supported the women's suffrage bill in 1999 and 2005.

In the 2006 general election, a coalition of 29 candidates who were members of parliament was formed (which was increased to 36 members after the election) aimed to support the 5 electoral districts bill.

e • d Summary of the 16 May 2009 National Assembly of Kuwait election results
Independents 21
Sunni Islamist 13
Liberals (Shia and Sunni) 7
Shia Islamist 6
Popular Bloc 3
Total (turnout 50 %) 50
Source: Kuwait Politics Database

Significant events

  • June 19, 1961- The Independence of Kuwait.
  • February 27, 1962- The Preliminary Assembly convened.
  • November 11, 1962- The Constitution of Kuwait was signed by the Emir, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah after being passed unanimously in the Assembly.
  • January 29, 1963- The First constitutionally elected Assembly convened.
  • February 27, 1967- The second elected Assembly convened, allegedly by forged elections.
  • May 4, 1999- Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah dissolved the National Assembly on the grounds of a political deadlock between the Government and the Assembly. This time he called for elections within the constitutional period of two months.
  • November 23, 1999- The National Assembly rejects an amiri decree by Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to grant women's suffrage in the next elections.
  • May 16, 2005- The National Assembly passes women's suffrage law after several attempts since the amiri decree of 1999.
  • January 29, 2006- Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was sworn in as the 15th emir of Kuwait, which was unanimously approved by the National Assembly.
  • May 21, 2006- Amidst week long disputes over reform to decrease the number of electoral districts, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah dissolves the Assembly calling for new elections June 29 of 2006.
  • March 17, 2008- Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad again dissolves the Assembly due to misuse of parliamentary powers by some members. He called for elections May 17, 2008.
  • March 18, 2009 - Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad dissolves the Assembly calling for new elections in two months time. This happened immediately following some members' calls to "grill" (see Politics of Kuwait for a definition of grilling) the prime minister, after months of "grilling" and political deadlock. The government resigned on March the 17th.
  • May 16, 2009 - The first women MPs were elected into the National Assembly. 4 women won in the 2009 election; Aseel al-Awadhi, Rola Dashti, Massouma al-Mubarak and Salwa al-Jassar


See also

External links

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