The Goverment of Saudi Arabia

  • The Goverment of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy based on Islam. 

The Basic Law adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the male descendants of the first king, Abdulaziz Al Saud, and that the Quran is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of Islamic law (Sharia). On 20 October 2006 the creation of a committee of princes to vote on the eligibility of future kings and crown princes was set up. The committee, to be known as the Allegiance Institution, includes key sons and grandsons of King Abdul Aziz. Under the new rules, the committee can vote for one of three princes nominated by the king. In the event that neither the king nor the crown prince is deemed fit to rule, a five-member transitory council would run state affairs for a maximum of one week.

The King appoints a Crown Prince to help him with his duties.

Executive Branch:

The king is also the Prime Minister, the chief of state, head of government, and also the commander in chief of the military.

The King governs with the help of the Council of Ministers, also called the Cabinet. There are 22 government ministries that are part of the Cabinet. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the king every four years and includes many royal family members.

There are no recognized political parties or national elections, except for one local election, which was held in 2005.The monarchy is hereditary. An Allegiance Commission was created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes that will play a role in selecting future Saudi kings, but the system will not take effect until after Crown Prince Sultan becomes king.

Legislative Branch:

The King is also advised by a legislative body called the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura). The Council proposes new laws and amends existing ones. It consists of 150 members who are appointed by the King for four-year terms that can be renewed.

Judicial Branch:

Justice is administered according to Islamic/Sharia law by a system of religious courts whose judges are appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, composed of 12 senior jurists. In theory, the independence of the judiciary is protected by law. The king acts as the highest court of appeal and has the power to pardon. Access to high officials (usually at a majlis, or public audience) and the right to petition them directly are well-established Saudi traditions.

Provincial System:

Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 provinces. Each province has a governor, a deputy governor, and a provincial council.

The provincial council system is the result of bylaws established by King Fahd in 1992. These bylaws divided the country into 13 provinces and defined their administrative structure, how they would be administered, and the responsibilities of the governors and other regional officers. In 1993, King Fahd named 210 members to the provincial councils.

In 2005, municipal elections were held for half of the members of each of the 178 municipal councils in the Kingdom. The remaining half of the council members and the mayor are appointed.

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