Politics of Kuwait
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Politics and government of
The Constitution of Kuwait was ratified in 1962 and has elements of a presidential and a parliamentary system of government. The Emir is the head of State and has the power to appoint the Prime Minister, dissolve the Parliament and even suspend certain parts of the Constitution.
The Constitution expressly supports political organizations, but they remain illegal as no law has arisen to define and regulate them. MPs tend to serve as Independents or as members of some loose affiliation or faction based on philosophy, sect, class or clan.
Citizens who have reached the age of 21 years, are not in the military and have not been convicted of a crime, can vote. Parliamentary candidates must be eligible to vote and at least 30 years old.
The Parliament consists of fifty members who are elected in districts using the first past the post voting method. The major factions, de facto parties, are as follows ;
- National Democratic Alliance - Progressive or neoliberal faction. Has its own TV channel, Nabeeha Tahalof, and publishes the daily newspaper Al-Jarida.
- Democratic Foundation of Kuwait - is a leftist political faction which is composed of social democrats, pan Arabs and some liberals. The faction operate a weekly newspaper called Al-Talea. Its candidates are usually backed by the Youth Association of Kuwait, its de facto youth arm.
- Hadas - Sunni Islamic fundamentalists. Commonly known as the Islamic Constitutional Movement and has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamic Salafi is another Sunni fundamentalist faction.
- National Islamic Alliance - Shia Islamic fundamentalists.
- Popular Action Bloc - Shia Populists. Tend to focus on a few issues, i.e. funding for housing.
- Justice and Peace Alliance - Shia moderates.
- Ummah Party - Islamic fundamentalist party that wants to revise the Constitution.
- Independents - No affiliation and tend to be supportive of the ruling family.
National Issues 
Two contentious issues, leading to six different elections between 1991–2008, involve issues pertaining to the electoral process and involvement of the ruling family in the government .
Accusations have been mounted that the government has fixed elections and that corrupt candidates, with friendly ties to the ruling family, buy their way into the parliament. The exclusion of women from the electoral process, prior to 2005, the minimum voting age of 21 and the fact that parties are still illegal, are also frequent points of contention 
The Prime Minister has always been from the ruling family. The more liberal MPs generally distrust the political power of the ruling family, whereas the Independents and Islamists tend to see the family as a source of tradition, order and clan allegiance .
The Constitution does not allow the parliament to dismiss the Prime Minister directly, but does allow them to issue an indirect no-confidence vote and call the Prime Minister to hear and have to answer to public criticism of his policies . Such things would be illegal in other Gulf States and are seen, by the more conservative-traditionalist factions, as being beyond the pale .
2003 Election 
In the 2003 elections the liberals faction lost most of its seats to the more traditionalist-conservative faction. The election results were a surprise, but the defeat may have due to the liberals initial support of the United States War on Terrorism, pushing for female suffrage and the reduction in the ruling family's power .
2006 Election 
An early election was called in 2006 as disputes over the redistricting of legislative districts and dislike of the Prime Minister, led to the parliament being dissolved and new elections being called . This was also the first Kuwaiti election where women were allowed to vote and seek public office.
The results were another victory for the traditionalist-conservative faction. Sunni Islamists won 21 seats, while the neoliberal National Action Bloc won only 7 seats. Most of the 13 Independents who won, were expected to side with the ruling family and the remaining seats were given to a Shiite populist faction .
2008 Elections 
Protests over the election law, lead to another early election being called in 2007. Along with charges of electoral fraud, concerns about high inflation was also a major campaign issue. This time the Sunni Islamicists gained four seats, the Shitte populists gained no seats, the Neoliberals lost a seat and the Independents lost three seats . The ongoing protests over election laws and the power of the ruling family led to another early election.
2009 Elections 
The Independents, who tend to support the ruling family, won 21 seats. The Sunni Islamists won 13 seats, the Neoliberals won six seats, the Shiite populists won 3 seats and Shiite Islamists won 6 seats . For the first time in Kuwaiti history, four of the elected officials were women.
2012 Elections 
Due to corruption allegations against previous Prime Minister Nasser Al-Sabah and mounting pressure from the parliament and numerous protests, the government resigned on 28 November 2011. Parliament was dissolved and early elections called for the early spring of 2012.
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