Kuwait is a democratic outlier in the Middle East. In this oil-rich Muslim Arab state, the ruling Sabah monarchy claims considerable executive authority, but it also coexists with a powerful, elected parliament and well-mobilized civil society. This oft-overlooked hybrid system is rooted in liberal norms of pluralism and openness, and enables opposition blocs to advance democratic reforms and rebuff the threat of repression. A transition towards parliamentary democracy, a rarity in the Arab world, is possible. However, this will require overcoming intense cleavages within the royal family, across social groups, and between the royal autocracy and society itself.