National Assembly of Kuwait: Wikis

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Kuwait

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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, as long as they adhere to Islamic law.

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 he or she 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 except that: 1) they do not participate in committees' work, and 2) 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 the famous Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who also designed the Sydney Opera House.[2]

Contents

Dissolving The National Assembly

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 such occasions, the assembly was dissolved unconstitutionally, and no new elections were held within the legally required period. The Emir of Kuwait in such cases ruled by decree. The first case was in 1976 and lasted until 1981. The other case lasted 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 2008. 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.

National Assembly Members by District

District Name Affiliation Sect Prior Experience Education Assumed Office Born In Tribe
1 Abdullah Al-Roumi Independent (Liberal-leaning) Sunni Lawyer Law 1985 1949
1 Abdulwahed AlـAwadhi Independent Sunni Kuwait Air Force Aviation, US Marine Academy 2003 1955
1 Adnan Zahid Abdulsamad National Islamic Alliance Shia Oil Ministry Political Science 1981 1950
1 Ahmed Lari National Islamic Alliance Shia Municipal Council Statistics 2006 1955
1 Hassan Jawhar Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Professor at Kuwait University PhD in Political Science 1996 1960
1 Hussein AlـQallaf Al-Bahraini Shia (Unaffiliated) Shia Sharia 1996 1958
1 Hussein Nasser Al-Huraiti Independent (close to government) Sunni Judge, Lawyer Law 2006 1962 Al-Awazem
1 Mikhled Al-Azmi Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Municipal Council Geography 1996 1961 Al-Awazem
1 Mohammed Al-Kandari Islamic Salafi Alliance Sunni Medicine 2008 1971 Al-Kandari
1 Saleh Ashour Justice and Peace Alliance Shia Kuwait Air Force Economics 1999 1952
2 Abdulatif AlـAmeeri Islamic Salafi Alliance Sunni Lawyer Sharia studies, Kuwait University 2008 1966
2 Ali Al-Rashid National Democratic Alliance Sunni Lawyer JD, International Arab University 2003 1967
2 Jamaan Al-Harbash Hadas Sunni Professor PhD in Islamic Ideology 2006 1970
2 Jassem Al-Kharafi Independent (businessman/liberal) Sunni Director of Al-Kharafi Group Business Administration, Manchester Trade Faculty 1975 1940
2 Khalaf Al-Enezi Independent (close to government) Sunni National Council Teachers' College 1981 1952 Al-Enezi
2 Khaled AlـSultan Bin Essa Islamic Salafi Alliance Sunni Chairman of Kuwait Graduates Society 2008 1940
2 Marzouq Al-Ghanim Independent (businessman/liberal-leaning) Sunni Petrochemicals Mechanical Engineering 2008 1968
2 Mohammed Al-Abduljader National Democratic Alliance Sunni Ministry of Finance PhD in Geopolitics 2008 1964
2 Mohammed AlـMutair Islamist (businessman/Salafi) Sunni Investment Company Business 2003 1969
2 Mohammed Al-Sager National Democratic Alliance Sunni Banking Economics 1999 1951
3 Abdulaziz AlـShayji Hadas Sunni Municipal Council Architectural Engineering, University of Miami 2008 1967
3 Adel Al-Saraawi Islamist (Independent) Sunni Office for Assessment of Iraq Invasion Damage Accounting 2003 1962
3 Ahmed Al-Mulaifi Islamist (Independent) Sunni Lawyer MA in Law 1996 1956
3 Ahmed Al-Sadoun Popular Action Bloc Sunni Literature 1975 1934
3 Ali Al-Omair Islamic Salafi Alliance Sunni Professor PhD in Chemistry 2006 1958
3 Faisal Al-Muslim Al-Otaib Islamist (Independent) Sunni Professor MA in Political History, University of Wales 2003 1962 Al-Otaibi
3 Nasser Al-Sane Hadas Sunni PhD in Business Administration 1992 1955
3 Roudhan Al-Roudhan Conservative Sunni Municipal Council 2008 1965
3 Saleh Al-Mulla Liberal Sunni Diplomat BA in Business, Kuwait University 2008 1971
3 Waleed AlـTabtabaie Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Professor, Kuwait University PhD in Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar 1996 1964
4 Ali Al-Daqbaashi Islamist (close to government) Sunni Management 2003 1965 Al-Rashaydah
4 Daifallah Bouramiya Islamist (Independent) Sunni Doctor MA in Public Health 2003 1957 Al-Mutairi
4 Hussein Quwaian Al-Mutairi Islamist (Independent/tribal) Sunni Doctor Medicine 2008 1968 Al-Mutairi
4 Mohammed Al-Rasheedi Islamist (Independent) Sunni Education training PhD in Law 2008 1964 Al-Rashaydah
4 Mohammed Hayef AlـMutairi Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Kuwait Municipality Islamic Studies 2008 1964 Al-Mutairi
4 Askar Al-Enezi Sunni 2008 Al-Enezi
4 Musallam AlـBarrak Popular Action Bloc Sunni Municipal Council Arabic literature 1996 1956 Al-Mutairi
4 Nasser Al-Duwailah Islamist (Independent) Sunni Army commander; lawyer Military science; Sharia 2008 1956 Al-Rashaydah
4 Rija Hujailan Al-Mutairi Independent Sunni Ministry of Education Management 2008 1941 Al-Mutairi
4 Saad AlـKhanfour Al-Rasheedi Independent Sunni Interior Ministry 2008 1965 Al-Rashaydah
5 Abdullah AlـBarghash Islamist (Salafi) Sunni Customs Department Customs Affairs 2008 1962 Al-Ajman
5 Abdullah Al-Fahma Independent (close to government) Sunni 2003 1958 Al-Awazem
5 Ali Al-Hajri Independent (close to government) Sunni Kuwait Municipality Literature 2003 1962 Al-Hawajir
5 Essam Al-Dabbous Independent (close to government) Sunni Kuwait Municipality Arts 2003 1962 Al-Fadul
5 Fahad Al-Azmi Independent (close to government) Sunni Interior Ministry 1999 1954 Al-Awazem
5 Jabir Al-Azmi Islamist (Independent) Sunni Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Sharia 2006 1970 Al-Awazem
5 Marzouq AlـHubaini Al-Azmi Popular Action Bloc Sunni National Council Business Administration 1996 1952 Al-Awazem
5 Mohammed AlـHuwaila Al-Ajmi Independent Sunni Professor PhD in Management, Yarmouk University 2008 1971 Al-Ajman
5 Mohammed Faleh Al-Ajmi Islamist (Independent) Sunni Maritime business MA in Business Administration 2008 1955 Al-Ajman
5 Sadoon Al-Otaibi Independent Sunni 2008 Al-Otaibi

Sources: Kuwait Politics Database, 2008 Election Results

Political Factions

the Kuwaiti parliament

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

e • d  Summary of the 29 June 2006 National Assembly of Kuwait election results
Seats
Islamic Bloc (Sunni) 21
Popular Bloc 9
National Action Bloc (liberals) 7
Independents (mostly pro-government) 13
Total (turnout 80 %) 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 sevral 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 29th 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.

References

See also

External links

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