7 April 2011

On 31 March, Kuwait’s entire government resigned. Opposition MPs plan to subject Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Ahmad al-Sabah to questions in the first parliamentary session after the formation of the new cabinet.

Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah asked Sheikh Nasser to form the new cabinet on 5 April.

MPs hope to question why Kuwait has not dispatched troops as part of the GCC force to Bahrain.

If submitted, the questions could trigger a new political dispute between the opposition and the government of Sheikh Nasser, which will be his seventh cabinet since he was appointed as prime minister in early 2006.

10 March 2011

Protests broke out in Kuwait on 19 February led by stateless locals, known as the Bidun Jinsiya (Bedouin without nationality). Without citizenship, but from nomadic tribes within the borders of Kuwait, they are denied free education, healthcare and employment opportunities.

Government actions:

  • A $3,572 one-off food allowance payment to all citizens
  • A $930m package of free food distribution lasting for 14 months
  • Monthly salaries for employees in the public and private sector were raised by $440 for Kuwaiti citizens, and $183 for non-Kuwaitis, adding $3m to the budget
  • Utility bills and traffic fines reduced

Political Risk assessment

As a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, political debate is often heated in Kuwait and obstructive to the process of government. The protests are unlikely to create wider disruption than Kuwait is used to.

23 February 2011

Major change in constitutional or government structures are unlikely in Kuwait, despite persistent political disputes and tensions.

The protests and repression in nearby Bahrain, has stirred speculation over how far the pressure for radical change could sweep through the Gulf. But Kuwait may be less at risk to such dramatic instability than many other countries, despite the often bitter tone of domestic political debate. This is thanks to the combination of an open political climate that accepts room for arguments and challenges to the government and a welfare state and public sector – where most Kuwaitis work – that are funded from the country’s vast oil revenues. The regional upheavals may persuade the government to speed up the pace at which it is assessing claims to nationality by stateless Bidoon residents.