Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah deceased on September 23, 2020, and was soon replaced by his half-brother and former crown prince, Sheikh Nawaf. Two relatively free parliamentary elections in 2016 and 2020 have not dissolved the perennial infighting between the executive and legislature as an inherent feature of the political system.

The COVID-19 crisis severely damaged Kuwait’s economy. Despite being one of the wealthiest countries, Kuwait faces a fiscal crisis. The missing revenues and growing costs of economic stimulus packages have depleted the country’s financial reserves. The lack of economic diversification leaves Kuwait vulnerable to fluctuations in the global oil price.

Kuwait’s business model needs to be transformed, as long as it still has the means to do so, rather than becoming a loser in a global economy turning away from carbon resources. Further challenges include the undefined role of the Bidoon as a socially discriminated class, structural marginalization of women, and interaction with the low-skilled migrant workers, who face increasing xenophobic sentiments.

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