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Political Reforms and the Process of Democratisation in Kuwait 1992-2013

ALMAZKURI, FATEMAH,A,H,A (2017) Political Reforms and the Process of Democratisation in Kuwait 1992-2013. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The study examined the four major political reforms undertaken in Kuwait post- liberation: the restoration of the National Assembly in 1992, the separation of posts of the Crown Prince from the post of the Prime Minister in 2003, women’s suffrage in 2005 and the redefining of the electoral districts in 2006. These were analysed to establish whether these political reforms represented a process of democratisation or political liberalisation that ultimately consolidated the power of liberalised autocracy and was merely a regime survival strategy. To do that the study employed a theoretical framework that considers Robert Dahl’s (1971) criteria: political participation, contestation and expansion of civil and political rights to assess whether Kuwait’s political system is democratic or not, in conjunction with David Potter’s scheme (1997) of the six pre-requisites that can promote and/or inhibit the process of democratisation: relation of state and political institutions, societal divisions, economic development, civil society, political culture and transnational/international engagement in order to identify the drivers and/or the obstacles to a democratic transition. This analysis contributes to the wider discussions on democratisation processes, furthering the understanding of the necessary conditions for democratisation, as well as what the nature of the obstacles to reform are in the Gulf region. The study concluded that the political reforms were not evidence of democratisation; rather they were part of Al Sabah’s own survival strategy and are better understood in terms of a liberalising autocracy. Nonetheless, they brought to the surface the contradictions inherent in the political structures and processes and allowed a space for civil society movements to emerge, mobilise and attempt to counter the dominance of the state as well as coming forth as another significant factor (the first being the National Assembly) pushing for democratisation. This apparent increase in civil society activism gives hope that change is possible.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Kuwait,Democratisation,political reforms,sheikh Sabah,2013
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Jul 2017 12:47

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