Kuwait's political crisis has been distinct from the wider regional upheaval.
In the summer of 2011, youth groups began calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed Al Sabah, a nephew of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed Al Sabah. Their protests escalated when he was implicated in the alleged payment of bribes to pro-government MPs. In November, protesters calling for his dismissal stormed the National Assembly. He was then replaced and parliament was dissolved pending early elections in February 2012, which saw the Islamist-led opposition making significant gains.
Four months later, the Constitutional Court said the election had been invalid and reinstated the previous parliament. Opposition MPs boycotted sessions, prompting the emir to dissolve parliament in October 2012. Before calling fresh polls, he changed the electoral law by decree. The opposition, which said the move favoured pro-government candidates, organised protests and boycotted the December 2012 poll.
In June 2013, opposition supporters lost a legal fight to undo the decree. However, the Constitutional Court found a fault in the process leading up to the elections and ordered a re-run in July, which the opposition again boycotted.
Where are we now?
Amid the crisis, the authorities have been accused of restricting freedom of expression. Dozens of politicians, activists and journalists have been charged with "offending" the emir, other regional leaders and the Prophet Muhammad.
The traditional policy of discouraging dissent with a generous cradle-to-grave welfare system has been hindered by Kuwait's stretched public finances, with government spending forecast to exceed oil revenues soon. In October, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak Al Sabah warned that the system was "unsustainable" and said he planned to review subsidies, charges and the prices of public services.