At stake in this election:
- 50 seats in the National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma)
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah
- Head of Government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK al-Hamad al-Sabah
- Assembly: Kuwait has a unicameral National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma) with 65 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- The Amir is hereditary head of state.
- Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch.
- In the National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma), 50 members are elected by plurality vote in multi-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 15 members are designated ex officio to serve 4-year terms.***
*** Elected members come from five 10-seat districts. Previously, Kuwaitis were able to vote for 4 MPs each, but in October 2012 it was reduced to one, via an amendment to the electoral law. Each voter may now choose only 1 candidate. The 10 highest vote-winners gain seats in each district. Ex-officio members are from the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the Prime Minister with the consent of the Emir.
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Seats won in last election: 50
- Seats won in this election: 50**
* Political parties are not legalized in Kuwait, and candidates run independently. However, there are at least 12 different political blocs in parliament that perform functions of political parties. Members of the opposition National Democratic Alliance will contest the election; however, other liberal, Islamist, and nationalist groups have said they will boycott the elections. A total of 321 candidates, including 8 women, will contest the election.
** According to a Congressional Research Service publication, Sunni independents (including tribalists, pro-business candidates, and women) won 30 seats, liberals won 9 seats, Shiites won 8 seats, Sunni Islamists (Salafists) won 3 seats. 2 seats were won by female candidates.
Last Parliamentary election:
- The Parliamentary poll is being held after the Constitutional Court annulled the December 2012 election results. Prior to the December elections, the Kuwaiti Electoral Law was amended to allow Kuwaitis 1 vote, as opposed to the 4 they could previously cast. As a result of the amendment, the opposition boycotted the December polls, and challenged the amendment in the Constitutional Court. On June 16, 2013, the Court upheld the amendment, but invalidated the election results on a technicality, necessitating new elections within 60 days.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 3,593,689 (2013)
- Registered Voters: 439,911 (July 2013 )
· Female Population: 1,576,512 (2013)
· Is Kuwait a signatory to CEDAW: No
· Has Kuwait ratified CEDAW: Yes, accession (2 September 1994)
· Gender Quota: No
· Female candidates in this election: Yes
· Number of Female Parliamentarians: 2 (following the 2013 elections)
· Human Development Index Position: 48
· Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: N/A
· Is Kuwait a signatory to CRPD: No
· Has Kuwait ratified CRPD: Yes, accession (22 August 2013)
· Population with a disability: 539,053 (est.)