Kuwait’s constitution

February 5, 2012

The first steps to draft Kuwait’s constitution, the oldest in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), were made in 1961 by Emir Shaikh Abdullah Al Salim Al Sabah.

Newly independent Kuwait sought to confirm it had the accoutrements necessary for the development of the modern sovereign state, especially that threats were lurking.

On August 26, 1961, the Emir issued Decree 22 calling for the election of a constituent assembly that will draft the constitution.

The elections were held on December 30 and 90 per cent of the registered voters, all men, turned up to elect 20 of the 74 candidates. Kuwait was divided into ten electoral constituencies and voters elected two from each constituency.

The total number of the assembly members was 31 after 11 ministers were added. However, the ministers did not vote on the articles of the constitution as it was passed in the constituent assembly.

The first session was held on January 20, 1962 and Abdul Lateef Mohammed Thnayyan Al Ghanem was elected president of the constituent assembly. Ahmad Mohammad Al Khateeb was elected vice president.

A five-member committee was chosen to oversee the drafting of the constitution in which Egyptian experts took part.

The final draft was presented by the members of the constituent assembly to the Emir on November 11, 1962.

The Emir in a brief speech said that he endorsed the constitution.

The constituent assembly dissolved itself on January 20, 1963 paving the way for the National Assembly (Parliament) of Kuwait to hold its first session.

The Constitution of the State of Kuwait is composed of 183 articles divided into five chapters: The State and the system of government, the basic components of Kuwait society, general rights and duties, authorities and general and provisional statutes.

The constitution establishes Islam as the religion of the state religion. Its pillars are the sovereignty of the state, public freedom and equality before the law.

According to the Constitution, Kuwait is an independent Arab state with a monarchical and constitutional system of government. The system of government is based on the separation of powers. The legislative authority is vested in the Emir and the National Assembly (Parliament) and the executive power is vested in the Emir and the cabinet and ministers.

The legal system, derived from Egyptian and French laws, is based on civil law jurisdiction.

The National Assembly has 50 seats.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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