Saudi Arabia Politics and Law

Saudi Arabia Politics and Law


Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with no elected parliament; a written constitution does not exist. On March 1, 1992, three reform decrees were published, of which the “Basic Law of Government” bears the basic features of a constitution (eg fixing of individual property and freedom rights, regulation of the succession to the throne). Further foundations of the state are the Koran and the Sunna. Islam is the state religion. Head of state, supreme holder of the executive and legislative branches and nominally spiritual head is the king, Salman Ibn Abdul Asis al-Saud since 2015 (* 1935). His position of power is based on Sharia law. In practice he has to take into account the clerical dignitaries (council of scribes; 18 members) as well as the complex internal power structures of the dynasty. He chairs the Council of Ministers, whose members are appointed by him for four years. In fact, Crown Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman (* 1985), a son of the king, has headed the government since 2017. The Consultative Council (Madjlis asch-Shura) with (since 2005) 150 members appointed by the king for four years is a representative body with limited powers (no decision-making authority), but has been able to initiate new laws since 2003. Since 2013, it has had 30 women.

Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In terms of foreign policy, Saudi Arabia, as a regional power, competes with Iran and Turkey. Important allies of the kingdom are Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the Syrian Civil War , Saudi Arabia joined the US-led military alliance against the so-called Islamic State (IS). In Yemen it is waging war against the Shiite Houthi.

National symbols

According to Trackaah, the flag of Saudi Arabia is the traditional flag of the Wahhabis, it was introduced in 1932 and its current design was given in 1973. The green cloth contains the Shahada, the Islamic testimony of faith: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is God’s messenger” in white letters. Underneath is a white sword. The writing is placed in such a way that it can be read correctly on both sides. Due to its religious significance, the flag must never be raised at half mast.

The coat of arms (in use since 1950) shows two crossed curved swords below a palm tree, which are symbols of the united parts of Hidjas and Nedjd.

The national holiday on September 23rd commemorates the unification of the parts of the country and the founding of the kingdom in 1932.


Political parties and trade unions are not permitted.


The total strength of the volunteer army is about 125,000 men. The paramilitary national guard, which is under the direct command of the royal family, is responsible for internal security and has around 100,000 men. The army (around 75,000 soldiers) is divided into four armored and five mechanized brigades, an airborne brigade and the royal guard regiment; there is also an artillery brigade and two air force brigades. The air force has around 20,000 and the navy around 13,500 men.


Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 provinces (since 1994 an additional 103 sub-districts). The administration of the provinces is in the hands of provincial councils (some of which have been directly elected representatives since 2005) and governors (emirs) who are appointed by the king.


The law follows the Islamic law of Sharia (Hanbali legal school); The Koran and Sunna are authoritative for all laws. Other legal regulations exist only in civil law. The jurisprudence is by Kadis perceived. The Sharia court system (responsible for criminal, family and property matters) has four levels and consists of courts with limited jurisdiction, general courts, courts of appeal and the Supreme Judicial Council, which serves as the highest court of appeal for Sharia matters. There are also numerous commissions and tribunals with judicial functions. The death penalty is imposed for murder, rape, sodomy, armed robbery, sabotage, drug trafficking, adultery and crimes of belief.


Freedom of the press, reporting and access to the Internet are severely restricted by censorship, subject bans and criminal regulations.

Press: The press is largely in private hands, but it is in many ways connected to the ruling house. Of a dozen daily newspapers, five appear in Jeddah, including “Al-Madina” (founded in 1937), “Al-Bilad” (founded in 1932) and “Okaz” (founded in 1960), the Arabic edition of the tabloid “New York Post”. The daily newspaper with the highest circulation is »Ar-Riyad« (founded in 1965). The only evening newspaper is »Al Jazeera« (founded in 1960). “Arab News” (founded in 1975), “Saudi Gazette” (founded in 1976) and “Aseer News” (founded in 2013, online) appear in English. “Al-Hayat” (founded in 1946) and “Asharq Al-Awsat” (founded in 1978, both in London) are pan-Arabic and internationally oriented.

News agencies: Saudi Press Agency (Riyadh, state), International Islamic News Agency (IINA) of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC, Jeddah).

Broadcasting: The state-owned Saudi Arabian Broadcasting Corp. (SBC, founded in 1965) broadcasts radio programs in around ten languages ​​every day, including religious programs. In addition to the TV channels of the SBC, z. For example, “Al-Saudiya”, “Saudi 2” and the news channel “Al-Ekhbariya” receive pan-Arab channels, including “MBC” (with “Al-Arabiya”) and “Dubai TV” from Dubai and “Al Jazeera” from Qatar. “Ar-Riyadiah” is a sports channel.

Telecommunications: Internet use and cellular communications are widespread and growing rapidly.

Saudi Arabia Politics

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