Political Reform in Saudi Arabia: Necessity or Luxury?

Middle East Studies Online Journal- ISSN 2109-9618- Issue n°6. Volume 3 ( Summer 2011)

Etudes  du Moyen-Orient. N°6. Volume 3. ( Eté 2011)

.2011دراسات الشرق الأوسط، مجلة فكرية محكمة. العدد السادس . المجلد الثالث صيف


By: Bassam Abdullah Albassam*




Abstract: Since its founding in 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never had a written constitution or any form of public participation in the policy process and governmental decision-making process. Since 1992, the rulers have been under increasing pressure to formulate a written constitution and to increase public participation in the policy process. As a response, Saudi rulers have enacted many laws, which they claimed were a new ‎‎constitution for the country. This paper argues that the reforms introduced in Saudi Arabia are empty reforms that put the country’s political stability in jeopardy. In contrast, increasing public participation in the policy process will ensure political stability and legitimize rulers’ authority. Thus, without political reform that guarantees citizen participation in the policy and governmental decision-making processes, the country’s political future will continue to be controlled by a small group of people (the royal family) who often disagree amongst themselves about what is best for the country.


Key Words: Saudi Arabia, the Saudi royal family, political and administrative reforms, citizen participation


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Political Reform in Saudi Arabia


* Ph.D. Candidate (ABD).Public Administration Program. Florida Atlantic University. Boca Raton, FL, USA. Email:balbassa@fau.edu



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