Following the 1962 Constitution, last amended in 1997,
Kuwait is a unified state monarchy. The monarch, the emir,
has extensive powers, but has increasingly had to take into
account a critical opinion that requires democratization.
The opposition is also clearly expressed through the
National Assembly. The Emir is nominated by and among the
male descendants of Sheikh Mubarak al-Sabah, who ruled
1896-1915 and whose family has held power in the country
The government is exercised through a government
appointed by and responsible to the emir. Until 2003, the
successor was prime minister, when these positions were
Legislative power has been formally added to the National
Assembly, Majlis al-Umma. It has 50 members, elected for
four years by men over 21 who have Kuwaiti citizenship,
except for police or military personnel. As the Kuwaiti
constitute less than half the population, the voters
represent a fairly small group (10-15% of the population).
Requirements to give women the right to vote, make it easier
for foreigners to gain Kuwaiti citizenship and relax the
strict naturalization rules (30 years of residence time
required to get voting rights) have been strong in recent
years. In 2005, it was decided to introduce women's suffrage
to the 2007 election. Because the emir has experienced much
opposition from the assembly, he has dissolved it for
periods. Political parties are not allowed,
Administratively, Kuwait is divided into five
governorates, each headed by a governor and a council,
appointed by the emir. The governorates are further divided
into districts corresponding to constituencies. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of KW and its meanings of Kuwait.
The judiciary is characterized by Egyptian law, with
Islamic family law. Besides a constitutional court (with
five judges), the judicial system is built up on three
levels. It is a court of first instance, divided into eight
sections by case type, one appellate court and a Supreme
Court, the Court of Cassation, with five judges. In
addition, in each governorate there is a summary court that
judges in minor cases.
Military duty was reintroduced in Kuwait in 2017, and it
is 12 months for men. The total force figures for Kuwait's
armed forces are 17,500 active personnel, with a reserve of
23,700 personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, around 7100
semi-military forces (about 6600 National Guard, and 500 in
the Coast Guard) come.
In 2018, the United States had a military force in the
country of 14,000 personnel, and further fighter aircraft
and combat drones. In addition, Canada, Denmark, Italy,
Singapore and the United Kingdom had personnel, transport
aircraft and combat drones in Kuwait in connection with
Operation Inherent Resolve.
The army has a workforce of 13,000 active personnel.
Heavy equipment includes 293 tanks (218 M1A2 Abrams, and 75
M-84), 492 storm tanks and 260 armored personnel vehicles.
In addition, the Army has 106 self-propelled artillery,
heavy and light artillery, 74 armored fighters, short-range
air defense missiles, and light air defense artillery.
The Air Force has a personnel force of 2,500 active
personnel. The material includes 39 fighter aircraft of type
F/A-18 Hornet, three tanker, five transport, 27 trainers
(including 11 Hawk which can also be used as light combat
aircraft), and 42 helicopters, 16 of combat helicopters
The air defense command is equipped with long and short
range air defense missiles.
The Navy has a workforce of around 2,000 active
personnel, including 500 in the Coast Guard. The Navy's
fleet includes 20 patrol vessels, six landings, and one
auxiliary vessel. The Coast Guard has 32 patrol vessels,
four landings and one auxiliary.