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Timeline: Kuwait since independence

Parliament has been dissolved by the Emir several times over the course of four decades

Image Credit: AFP
Kuwaiti attend a campaign meeting for Islamist candidate and former MP Mohammed al-Mutair in Kuwait City on November 20, 2016. / AFP / Yasser Al-Zayyat
Gulf News

Kuwait: Ahead of Saturday’s election for Kuwait’s 50-seat parliament, here is a timeline of developments since the Gulf emirate gained independence in 1961:

- June 19, 1961: Kuwait, which had been occupied by Britain since 1899, obtains independence. A hereditary monarchy, it has been led since 1756 by the Al-Sabah family.

- November 11, 1962: A constitution provides for the election of a national assembly by direct suffrage, comprising 50 parliamentarians with four-year mandates. Kuwait is the first Arab Gulf monarchy to introduce a parliamentary system. The first legislative elections are held in 1963.

- 1963: Iraq recognises Kuwait after having attempted to annex it after its independence. However, in May 1973, Iraqi troops occupy the Samitah border post, before withdrawing a year later under international pressure.

- August 29, 1976: The emir orders the dissolution of parliament, pointing to a lack of cooperation by deputies. He suspends the main articles of the constitution, interrupting parliamentary life, which resumes in 1981.

- August 2, 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait. The emirate is liberated in late February 1991 by a US-led coalition in what is called Operation Desert Storm.

- July 1991: Kuwait resumes its exports of crude oil after bringing fires started by the Iraqis in around 700 oil wells under control.

- October 1992: Legislative elections after another suspension in 1986 of parliamentary life. An opposition alliance grouping Islamists, liberals and nationalists wins, gaining 32 seats out of 50.

- November 10, 1994: Iraq recognises Kuwait’s UN-defined maritime and land borders.

- March 20, 2003: Kuwait serves as a bridgehead for the launch of the invasion of Iraq by the US-British coalition which will lead to the overthrow of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

- August 2, 2004: Kuwait re-establishes diplomatic relations with Iraq.

- May 16, 2005: Women get the right to vote and to stand in elections. A woman minister is named in June.

- January 24, 2006: The death of Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah sparks a political crisis. Parliament removes his replacement after just over a week in power on health grounds. Prime Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad al-Sabah takes the throne.

- May 21, 2006: The new emir dissolves parliament and a period of instability ensues, marked in 2011 by demonstrations amid the wider Arab Spring movement. From 2006 to 2013, almost a dozen governments are formed and parliament is dissolved six times.

- March 26, 2015: Kuwait joins a Saudi-led coalition that is formed to fight Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen.

- June 26, 2015: A suicide attack against a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City kills 26 people, the deadliest attack in the country’s history. It is claimed by Daesh.