Kuwait celebrates Constitution Day

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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 10: The Constitution of the State of Kuwait marks its 60th anniversary Friday amidst pride of what the Constitution has contributed to democracy in the country. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the State of Kuwait’s 11th Amir, ratified the constitution on November 11, 1962, a defining moment in the political history of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti people remember with pride the historic democratic stages that Kuwait went through, beginning with the constitutional document in 1938 until the birth of the Constitution in 1962, the “most important document” of Kuwait. The Constitution triggered transformational change for a modern state built upon institutions, organizing relationship between the ruler and people, documenting civil rights of citizens and their right to express themselves, while setting foundations for freedom, equality and justice.

Speaker of the Constituent Assembly presenting the Kuwait Constitution to the then Amir of Kuwait.

The late Sheikh Abdullah Al- Salem had expressed desire to build a solid parliamentary system based on democratic principles and see the contributions of the public to the Constitution. He signed a law on August 26, 1961 regarding the bylaw of the transitional period and holding elections for the Constituent Assembly with a mandate of wording the Constitution. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem inaugurated the Constituent Assembly in January 1962 and told the members that they have a daunting task of placing foundation of the ruling system of the nation.

Members of the Assembly elected Abdullatif Mohammad Al-Ghanem as Speaker and Dr. Ahmad Al-Khateeb as Deputy Speaker. The sixth session saw election of the Constitution Committee, consisting of Speaker Al-Ghanem, late Father Amir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah who was Interior Minister and also served as committee chairman, MP Humoud Al-Zaid Al- Khaled who also Minister of Justice, Yaqoub Yusuf Al-Humaidhi and Saud Abdulaziz Al-Abdulrazzaq. The committee tabled the final draft of the Constitution and was unanimously approved on November 3, 1962.

The Assembly then referred the draft Constitution to Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem who ratified it on November 11, 1962. The Constitution consists of 182 Articles in five Parts: the First about the State and System of Government, Second about Fundamental Constituents of Kuwait Society, Third about Public Rights and Duties, Fourth about Authorities and Fifth about General and Transitional Provisions. The first parliamentary elections were held in January 1963 and were the beginning of the real political practices under the Constitution. The democratic march in Kuwait was marred with some crises. The parliament was suspended twice in 1976 and 1986. Late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah formed a committee on February 10, 1981 to consider amending the constitution. The 35-member committee held 18 meetings and discussed 13 government proposals.

The committee ended its meetings on June 22, 1980. The Constitution was the shield that helped the country confront domestic and external crises, foremost the Iraqi invasion in 1990, when the Kuwaitis united under their legitimate leadership. Following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah formed a new government with a mandate of reconstruction, and in October 1992, the parliamentary life resumed. Late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah had always reiterated commitment to the constitution and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah reiterated this pledge. The parliament was dissolved on August 2, 2022 in a bid to correct the political scene following the tension that marred the nation, therefore the political leadership sought their constitutional authorities to safeguard stability and security of Kuwait (KUNA)

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