In a region where autocracy is the rule, Kuwait is a remarkable exception, with a powerful and truculent elected Parliament that sets the emir’s salary and is the nation’s sole source of legislation. Women gained the right to vote and run for office two years ago, and a popular movement won further electoral changes.
“In Democracy Kuwait Trusts, but Not Much,” NYT, 6 May, 2008.
According to Freedom House, and common sense, Kuwait is not an “exception” to the autocratic rule: Its regime falls right within the norm, save for a few exceptional institutional features, most of which are of recent advent and of a tenuous nature. It was only last year that the country moved to the category of “partly free” from “not free.” On women’s rights, Kuwait is still within the regional norm as well. While the Kuwaiti endeavor is certainly interesting, the article would have done much better to have focused on the actual conduct of “democracy” in Kuwait, rather than focusing on the economic side almost exclusively, neglecting matters of human and civil rights which are still routinely abused in the statelet.