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Saudi Arabia
1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
4. Health
5. Education
a. Universities
6. Media
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. History
12. Cities and Towns

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Index / Political situation /
Open map of Saudi ArabiaFlag of Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia /
Political situation

Ibn Sa'ud 1932-1953
Sa'ud 1953-1964
Faisal 1964-1975
Khalid 1975-1982
Fahd 1982-2005
Abdullah 2005-

Presently, the king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah, is also the prime mininster of the country. The government has 23 ministeries, in addition there are 7 ministers of state. 5 of the ministers are Sa'udi princes.
There is no national assembly as such, but a consultative council, the Majlis ash-Shura, with 90 members. Their influence on politics is limited.
Even if Saudi Arabia is stable, there are strong undercurrents, working against the royal family. Hence we must conclude that the future is unpredictable.
The political system of Saudi Arabia is to a large extent the one shaped by King Faisal (1964-1975), where the king enjoys absolute power, but where the support of the ulama (which in Saudi Arabia is not professing to be divinely inspired) is central in upholding the legitimacy of the king's rule. The kings position has grown stronger compared to the ulama during the 30 years of this system. Today the system is formalized with a consultative body that has 60 members. Saudi Arabia has since 1992 had a written constitution, and a bill of rights.
The legislature of Saudi Arabia is the Sharia, which is considered as the law of God. But there have been several new laws coming up during the years, laws that regulate the functions of the modern society. While these new laws are additions to the Sharia, they must not run counter to Sharia.
While there are no forums for expressing dissatisfaction with the rulers, opposition exists in Saudi Arabia. Under the surface, cassettes and information is spread. How many supporting these groups is impossible to estimate. These groups are believed to have members so high in the society that they expect that a change in the system will be to their direct benefit. The opposition grows out of dissatisfaction with the total lack of democracy, as well as the harsh differences in economic power between the social groups.
From 1993 Saudi Arabia became divided into 13 administrative districts, that are administered by appointed governors and assemblies of local notables. In larger cities, municipal governments are appointed by local leaders. Towns and villages are governed by councils of elders.

By Tore Kjeilen