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Comparison between the UAE and Kuwait

The UAE is a federation that consists of seven regions called emirates. As of 2015, the population of the country was estimated to be around 9.346 million people. The UAE is an Islamic state, meaning that the country is governed based on Islamic ideals. Conversely, Kuwait is a country situated in Southwest Asia, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The population size of Kuwait is estimated to be 3.369 million people. Kuwait City is the capital of Kuwait. Just like the UAE, the Constitution of Kuwait recognizes Islam as the state religion. Similarly, it also provides for the absolute freedom of belief and religious practice. Despite having some similarities, the differences between the two countries are remarkable and deserve their investigation. This essay provides a comparison between the UAE and Kuwait, exploring issues such as current regimes, political and governance structures of the two countries, as well as local and foreign policies.     

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Comparison between Current Regimes of the UAE and Kuwait

The UAE has a political structure that recognizes federal authorities, presidential and absolute monarchy establishments. According to the convention binding the seven emirates, the ruler of Abu Dhabi is the president of the UAE and the head of the state. The prime minister is the absolute authority of the government. On the other hand, Kuwait has a constitutional government and a democratic Amiri regime. Currently, His Highness the Amir of the States is the ruler of the country (Katzman, 2015). The legislative body of Kuwait has the mandate of enacting laws that govern the country. In both countries, the current regimes have been able to attain success in maintaining peace and stability, which has in turn translated into economic prosperity. The stability of the two regimes has helped the two countries remain peaceful during the Arab uprising, a time when most Arab countries such as Yemen, Egypt, and Tunisia were facing political upheavals.

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Political and Governance Structure of the UAE and Kuwait

The UAE Constitution recognizes the legislative council referred to as the Federal National Council. It was created to represent the Emirati people and engage in a legislative process. The council consists of 40 members who have advisory tasks in the house of the legislative council (Forstenlechner, Rutledge, & Alnuaimi, 2012). During general elections, the citizens elect 20 members while the Electoral College and the leadership of each emirate elect the other 20 (Forstenlechner et al., 2012). The Federal National Council is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE. The electoral body, the National Election Committee, is the only body mandated with the task of conducting elections in the UAE and authorized to nominate the Electoral College members. In the UAE, any person can be elected as a member of the Electoral College as long as they fit the constitutional definition of the UAE citizen.

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On the other hand, the legislative body in Kuwait is the National Assembly, which is the main legislative power in the country. The Kuwait National Assembly is constitutionally mandated to enact and amend laws, supervise government projects, and remove performing ministers from their post. The Kuwait National Assembly's interpellation sessions of ministers air on Kuwait TV to enable citizens to follow the proceedings in the National Congress. The National Congress of Kuwait comprises 50 members of parliament elected by the public for a four-year term (Herb, 2009). Cabinet members are allowed to sit in the parliament as deputies. The Constitution puts a seal on the number of people who can be appointed to the cabinet. In particular, it should only consist of 16 individuals and one of them should be a member of the parliament (Herb, 2009). In Kuwait, cabinet members and members of parliament have similar power and authority. However, the representatives of the cabinet cannot participate in the impeachment of their fellow cabinet ministers and in the work of committees.

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Consequently, the legislative council of the UAE has 40 members while that of Kuwait has 50 members (Herb, 2009). While in the UAE, 20 members are elected by the electorate and other 20 by the Electoral College, in Kuwait, the system is different because citizens elect all 50 deputies. The Kuwait ruler Emir is represented in the National Assembly by 16 cabinet ministers, one of whom should be an elected member of parliament. Finally, in the UAE, members of the legislative council have limited powers while in Kuwait members of parliament have more power, for instance, they can override the Emir's veto power.

Foreign, Interior, Local, and Regional Policies of the UAE and Kuwait

The UAE policy on foreign matters is strict and open. The country believes in justice in international dealings between states and advocates for non-interference in the internal affairs of other states (Katzman, 2015). Correspondingly, the UAE recognizes international institutions, such as the United Nation (UN), and domesticates treaties emanating from such institutions. Regionally, the UAE espouses principles of democracy and outlaws violence and extremism. For instance, during the rebellion in Egypt, the UAE financially assisted the military-led government that ousted President Mohammad Morsi.

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Kuwait has maintained strong international relations with many countries, majorly in the Arab world. Vast oil reserves helped it to have a prominent voice in global economic forums, given that it is amongst the top producers and exporters of oil in the world. Its allies such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia greatly helped the country to regain its territories when it was invaded by Iraq (Charles, 2015). Kuwait has been participating in helping other Arab countries in need. For instance, it has been at the forefront in giving medical support to those affected by the Syrian crisis. It is also a member state of the Arab League, a regional body created to protect the interest of the Arab people and countries.

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Both countries have well-structured policies that govern the way they manage arising issues at the local, regional, and international level. However, the policies of the UAE are better when compared to those of Kuwait because the UAE focuses more on the issues of a particular interest to the Arab League. Both countries use the Arab League as an avenue to implement liberal policies that address issues such as international laws, fighting against terrorism, and the Arab world politics. Kuwait, being small and not actively involved in politics, did not address issues advocated by institutions such as the UN. For instance, the country was reluctant to take in a substantial number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees as was advised by the UN.

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It is evident enough from the above-presented facts that both the UAE and Kuwait are great countries endowed with vast oil reserves. Kuwait and the UAE are both Muslim countries governed by a strict Sharia law. Kuwait is relatively small but harbors massive oil reserves. It is also stable in terms of politics. The country abides by international treaties and is a serious player in the regional and international arena. Similarly, the UAE is governed by a strict Islam law and it complies with international treaties. The country plays a significant role in local and regional matters. In terms of politics, the UAE has been relatively calm and has supported numerous peace initiatives in neighbouring countries that face violence. However, both countries differ in terms of political and government structure. Moreover, the UAE is more actively involved in international matters than Kuwait.

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