Country Profile:

Government: Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy, administratively represented by 6 governorates (know as muhafazat, singular muhafazah):

Al Ahmadi, Al Farwaniyah, Al ‘Asimah, Al Jahra’, Mubarak Al-Kabeer and Hawalli.

Date of Independence: June 19, 1961

Constitution Approved and Promulgated:

Approved: November 11, 1962

Executive Power is exercised by the Amir through Council of Ministers (frequently referred to as “the government”) headed by a prime minister who is chosen by the Amir after traditional consultations.

Judicial System: Based on the Egyptian model, it is an combination of Islamic law, English common law, and the Ottoman civil code. Personal and family matters such as divorce and inheritance are governed by separate family courts operating under religious laws, each religious tradition (e.g. Sunni, Shia, Christian) having its own set of laws and courts.

Legislature: Unicameral National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma) of 50 members elected by popular vote to serve 4-year terms. Political Parties: Not permitted, though there are formal political groupings that back MPs and candidates.

Suffrage: Up until May 17, 2005, only male citizens 21 and older were able to run and vote for the parliament. But on that day, the National Assembly passed a law granting women full suffrage, which means the current National Assembly will be the last all-male parliament in Kuwait. In fact, on June 14, 2005, the first woman minister was appointed in the cabinet, making her also the first female member of parliament in her capacity as the Minister of Planning. With the passage of the new law, the number of eligible voters is expected to jump from approximately 139,000 to around 339,000.

International Organization Participation: Kuwait is a member of a number of International Organizations including…

  • Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA)
  • African Development Bank (AFDB)
  • Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD)
  • Arab League Arab Monetary Fund (AMF)
  • Banque De Developpement Des Etats De L’afrique Centrale (BDEAC)
  • Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU)
  • Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
  • Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  • Group of 77 (G-77)
  • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • World Bank (IBRD)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • The international Criminal Court ICCt (signatory)
  • INMARSAT International Development Association (IDA)
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS)
  • International Labor Organization (ILO)
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • Interpol International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
  • Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC)
  • Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC)
  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
  • United Nations (UN)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR)
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU) World Customs Organization (WCO)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  • World Tourism Organization (WtoO)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)

Sources:

Diplomatic Representation in the US:

Chief of Mission: Ambassador Salim Al-Abdallah Jaber Al Sabah

Chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

Telephone: [+1] (202) 966-0702

Fax: [+1] (202) 364-2868

Diplomatic Representation from the US:

Chief of Mission: Ambassador Lawrence R. Silverman

Embassy: Bayan, Area 14, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City, Kuwait

Mailing Address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000

Telephone: [+965] 539-5307, 5308

Fax: [+965] 538-0282