Risk Management Report: Kuwait
Politics: Kuwait has been governed by the Al-Sabah family since the 18th century. It gained independence from Britain in 1961; a new constitution written that year confirmed the hereditary monarchy, but gave significant powers to an independent judiciary and an elected assembly. The emir – Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah since 2006 – retains final say. Parties are banned, but associations and factions are active, creating opposition blocs in the 50-member Majlis Al-Umma (National Assembly) and the Gulf’s most participatory politics. The downside of this experiment in partial democracy has been constant friction between the elected parliament and appointed government, which has often resulted in paralysis of the state.