Arab uprising: Country by country - Kuwait

  • Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
    Aged 75
    Deposed after 23 years

  • Hosni Mubarak
    Aged 84
    Deposed after 29 years

  • Muammar Gaddafi
    Aged 68
    Killed after 42 years

  • Ali Abdullah Saleh
    Aged 70
    Deposed after 33 years

  • Bashar al-Assad
    Aged 48
    In power since 2000

  • King Hamad al-Khalifa
    Aged 63
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah Al Saud
    Aged 89
    In power since 2005

  • King Mohammed VI
    Aged 50
    In power since 1999

  • Abdelaziz Bouteflika
    Aged 76
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah II
    Aged 51
    In power since 1999

  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said
    Aged 73
    In power since 1970

  • Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah
    Aged 84
    In power since 2006

  • "We had a clean revolution. The former president turned out to be a coward. He just ran away. Not like the others - like the poor Libyans, or in Syria - but it lit the fuse to all the other revolutions"
    Wassim Herissi, radio DJ
  • "Our country's condition was getting worse and worse. There was corruption, torture, injustice, inequality and no freedom. Someone had to stand up and say 'enough is enough'"
    Ahmed Raafat Amin, protester
  • "It's freedom. There's no Gaddafi, unbelievable. I feel the freedom. I smell the freedom."
    Lamin el-Bijou, Banghazi resident
  • "If they are trying to scare us, they are wrong. We will continue. Let them come and burn the whole square, we will not leave."
    Protester in Change Square, Sanaa
  • "The Tunisians had already been freed. The Egyptians were on their way to be free. We thought it was our turn to be free too"
    Amer Matar, organiser of the first major protest in Syria
  • "We don't fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are"
    Protester, Pearl Square, Manama
  • "I don't believe that liberal democracy will be put in place tomorrow but we have to start somewhere. Equality, the rule of law - the country is ready for this. We have to start the process"
    Dr Tawfik Alsaif, dissident campaigner
  • "They dare to voice criticism that they haven't dared to before; they dare say we want a king who does not rule, but who is a symbol. They dare to say and discuss this. Before it was not permitted"
    Mohamed El-Boukili, Moroccan Association for Human Rights
  • "One day this will be bigger than Tahrir Square - but not today. We will keep returning every week though until things begin to change and Algeria has democracy"
    Young protester at a rally
  • "We have to keep the pressure on this government. We are in the streets and we'll stay in the streets until we see all these demands working on the ground"
    Muhannad Sahafiin, protester
  • "Oman's stability was always just a cover... Oman is still a bomb waiting to explode"
    Basma al-Kiyumi, activist
  • "We have a government that doesn't listen, doesn't see and all it does is deceiving the people."
    Obeid al-Wasmi, opposition politician

What happened?

Map of Kuwait

Kuwait's political crisis has been distinct from the wider regional upheaval.

In the summer of 2011, youth groups began calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed Al Sabah, a nephew of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed Al Sabah. Their protests escalated when he was implicated in the alleged payment of bribes to pro-government MPs. In November, protesters calling for his dismissal stormed the National Assembly. He was then replaced and parliament was dissolved pending early elections in February 2012, which saw the Islamist-led opposition making significant gains.

Four months later, the Constitutional Court said the election had been invalid and reinstated the previous parliament. Opposition MPs boycotted sessions, prompting the emir to dissolve parliament in October 2012. Before calling fresh polls, he changed the electoral law by decree. The opposition, which said the move favoured pro-government candidates, organised protests and boycotted the December 2012 poll.

In June 2013, opposition supporters lost a legal fight to undo the decree. However, the Constitutional Court found a fault in the process leading up to the elections and ordered a re-run in July, which the opposition again boycotted.

Where are we now?

Amid the crisis, the authorities have been accused of restricting freedom of expression. Dozens of politicians, activists and journalists have been charged with "offending" the emir, other regional leaders and the Prophet Muhammad.

The traditional policy of discouraging dissent with a generous cradle-to-grave welfare system has been hindered by Kuwait's stretched public finances, with government spending forecast to exceed oil revenues soon. In October, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak Al Sabah warned that the system was "unsustainable" and said he planned to review subsidies, charges and the prices of public services.

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