National Assembly (Kuwait)

The National Assembly (Arabic: مجلس الأمة‎) is the unicameral legislature of Kuwait. The National Assembly meets in Kuwait City. Political parties are illegal in Kuwait,[2] candidates run as independents.[2] The National Assembly is made up of 50 elected members and 16 appointed government ministers (ex officio members).[2]

National Assembly of Kuwait

مجلس الأمة الكويتي

Majlis al-ʾUmma al-Kuwaytiyy
16th Legislative Session
Coat of arms or logo
Logo or emblem of the National Assembly
Term limits
New session started
December 15, 2020 (2020-12-15)
Marzouq Ali al-Ghanim
since August 6, 2013
Ahmed Khalifa al-Shuhoumi
since December 15, 2020
Farz Muhammad al-Daihani
since December 15, 2020
Osama Issa al-Shaheen
since December 15, 2020
Seats50 elected members
Up to 15 appointed members
KWT Parliament 2020.svg
Political groups
  •   Independent (16)

Elected members

Length of term
Four years
Single non-transferable vote
Last election
December 5, 2020
Next election
December 5, 2024[1]
Meeting place
Building of the National Assembly of Kuwait
Kuwait City, Kuwait


The National Assembly is the legislature in Kuwait, established in 1963.[3] Its predecessor, the 1938 National Assembly was formally dissolved in 1939 after "one member, Sulaiman al-Adasani, in possession of a letter, signed by other Assembly members, addressed to Iraq's King Ghazi, requesting Kuwait's immediate incorporation into Iraq". This demand came after the merchant members of the Assembly attempted to extract oil money from Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, a suggestion refused by him and upon which he instigated a crackdown which arrested the Assembly members in 1939.[4]

The National Assembly can have up to 50 MPs. Fifty deputies are elected by one non-transferable vote to serve four-year terms. Members of the cabinet also sit in the parliament as deputies. The constitution limits the size of the cabinet to 16. 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. In 2001, Nathan J. Brown claimed Kuwait's National Assembly is the most independent parliament in the Arab world;[5] in 2009, Israeli scholar Eran Segal claimed it is among the "strongest" parliaments in the Middle East.[6] As per Article 107 of the Kuwait constitution, the National Assembly can be dissolved by the Amir by decree, giving the reasons for the dissolution. However, the National Assembly shall not be dissolved again on the same grounds, and elections for the new Assembly must be held within a period not exceeding two months from the date of the dissolution.[7]

Gender balanceEdit

Women gained the right to vote in 2005. No women candidates won seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Women first won seats in the National Assembly in the 2009 election, in which four women, Aseel al-Awadhi, Rola Dashti, Massouma al-Mubarak and Salwa al-Jassar, were elected.[6]


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

Political factionsEdit

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

  • The liberal, secular bloc.
  • The Shaabi (populist) bloc: A coalition of populists (Sunni and Shia), liberals and nationalist parties with a focus on middle-class issues. The Popular Action Bloc is their main political party.
  • The Islamist bloc: Consisting of Sunni Islamist members.

Gulf WarEdit

During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein claimed occupied Kuwait as the 19th province of Iraq (known as Kuwait Governorate). As a result, Ali Hassan al-Majid became the puppet governor and took over what was left of the original government.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Kuwait cabinet approves decree for December 5 parliamentary vote". Reuters. 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Gandhi, Jennifer, "Institutions and Policies under Dictatorship", Political Institutions under Dictatorship, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 10–240, ISBN 978-0-511-51009-0, retrieved 2020-11-16
  3. ^ Herb, Michael (2014). The wages of oil : Parliaments and economic development in Kuwait and the UAE. Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-5469-7. OCLC 897815115.
  4. ^ Jill Crystal Oil and politics in the Gulf page 49
  5. ^ Nathan J. Brown. "Mechanisms of accountability in Arab governance: The present and future of judiciaries and parliaments in the Arab world" (PDF). pp. 16–18. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  6. ^ a b Eran Segal. "Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: Women Making History" (PDF). Tel Aviv Notes. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-04.
  7. ^ "Constitution of the State of Kuwait 1962, as amended to 2012". Retrieved 2021-09-02.

External linksEdit