Pre-election Analysis

Background to the 2012 National Assembly Elections

The Kuwaiti National Assembly (NA) is composed of 50 members, elected by universal suffrage, and since 2006 with women participating as both voters and candidates. The NA has been suspended constitutionally (and unconstitutionally) on several occasions since 1963, and did not function on a regular basis until 1992, after the occupation of the country by Iraq and the following restoration of Kuwaiti sovereignty. Disagreement between MPs and Ministers has been constant in Kuwaiti politics and has caused 4 suspensions of the NA and consecutive legislative elections in the last 6 years. The 2012 election is the result of the dissolution of the NA on 7th December 2011, after the Amir’s acceptance of the resignation of previous Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and his cabinet on 18th November. The resignation and NA dissolution happened in the middle of popular demands related to several issues magnified by the upheaval in other Arab countries, like the corruption accusation formulated against at least 16 MPs because of irregular multimillion dinar deposits in their banks accounts. Accusations of “foreign backing” and being in the pay of Iran, Qatar or Saudi Arabia have been crisscrossing among MPs every day since then.