Kuwait is an emirate.[1] The Emir of Kuwait, a hereditary monarch from the Al Sabah ruling family appoints the prime minister (who is always a royal) and other members of government, as well as members of judicial, police and financial institutions.

Executive branch

The Constitution of Kuwait was approved and promulgated on 17 November 1962.[2]


Main article: Cabinet of Kuwait

The prime minister chooses the cabinet of ministers, which form the government. The prime minister is a member of the ruling family and is appointed by the Emir.


The Emir's powers are defined by the 1961 constitution. These powers include appointing the prime minister, who in turn chooses the cabinet of ministers (government). Upon the death of the Emir, the crown prince succeeds.

Judicial branch

Main article: Legal system of Kuwait

The judiciary in Kuwait is not independent of the government, the Emir appoints all the judges and many judges are foreign nationals from Egypt. In each administrative district of Kuwait, there is a Summary Court (also called Courts of First Instance which are composed of one or more divisions, like a Traffic Court or an Administrative Court); then there is Court of Appeals; Cassation Court, and lastly - a Constitutional Court which interprets the constitution and deals with disputes related to the constitutionality of laws. Kuwait has a civil law legal system.

Legislative branch


Legislative power is exercised by the Emir. He issues laws and policies via decrees.

Former legislature

The National Assembly was formerly the legislature, established in 1963.[2] 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.[3] The National Assembly had up to 50 MPs.[4]

Gulf War

During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein attempted to make Kuwait the 19th province of Iraq (known as Kuwait Governorate). During the Iraqi occupation, Ali Hassan al-Majid became the governor and took over what was left of the original government.

VIP Flight

The State of Kuwait operates several VIP jets used mainly by the Emir of Kuwait:

  1. ^ Gandhi, Jennifer (26 July 2010), "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
  2. ^ a b Herb, Michael (2014). The wages of oil : Parliaments and economic development in Kuwait and the UAE. Ithaca. ISBN 978-0-8014-5469-1. OCLC 897815115.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ Crystal, Jill (1990). Oil and politics in the Gulf : rulers and merchants in Kuwait and Qatar. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36639-9. OCLC 19722357.
  4. ^ "Kuwait - The World Factbook". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2021-09-02.