Kuwait. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Kuwait include Independence Day (February 25) and New Year (January 1). Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad as-Sabah, who ruled Kuwait since 1977, died on January 15. He turned 78 and had been ill since he suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2001. His cousin, Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Jabir, was appointed as successor but his health was also fragile. After a vote in parliament on January 24, he abdicated and was replaced by 77-year-old Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir as-Sabah. The vote was probably the first in which Kuwait’s parliament had any role in appointing leaders. As a rule, the leader is appointed between two branches of the royal family.
In a speech on January 30, the new emir called for unity. In February, he appointed his half-brother, Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jabir as-Sabah, to crown prince. A government reform was carried out and the emir’s nephew, Sheikh Nasser Muhammad al-Ahmad as-Sabah, was appointed prime minister.
Election elections were held on April 4 for a local congregation in as-Salimiya, south of the capital, after a member was appointed Minister of the Environment. It was the first time that women were both allowed to vote and run for office in a local election after a decision in May 2005. One of the two female candidates ended up in second place. Female voter turnout was about 30%.
The emirate dissolved Parliament on May 21. The decision was preceded by the opposition’s demand to sharply reduce the number of constituencies. The parliamentary elections were held for one year and were held on June 29. None of the 28 female candidates was elected. Although parties are not allowed, political groups exist. The opposition, which consisted of Islamists, liberals and nationalists, won 33 out of 50 seats. The turnout was about 60%. A new government swore in in July. Only one of the sixteen members was elected to Parliament. However, the government’s votes are counted in parliamentary votes. Six ministers, including the Prime Minister (Scheik Nasser retained his post), the Minister of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Energy and the Interior, belong to the royal family. The government’s only woman, Masuma al-Mubarak, was moved from the Ministry of Planning and became Minister of Communications.
Kuwait, which is estimated to have a tenth of the world’s oil reserves, announced in March that large natural gas deposits were found in the northern part of the country.