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Saudi Arabia

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

A family of princes numbering between 2,000 and 5,000 adult males rule the Saudi monarchy from the capital city of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia was an absolute monarchy during the reign of its first King, Ibn Saud (1932-1953). While there are plans to institute some political reforms, the structure of government has seen few changes. A royal council of majlis (ministers) is chaired by the king, includes selected members of the royal family, cabinet ministers, councilors, leading members of the ulama (theologians), provincial emirs, and tribal sheiks, and provides advice on the nation's governance. Saudi Arabia's government protects Islam and is governed by sharia law, which are Muslim values and laws outlined in the Qur'an, (Muslim's sacred text) and the Hadith (the sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad).

The king appoints the nation's judicial authorities. The king appoints and relieves deputies of the prime minister, ministers, and members of the Council of Ministers by royal decree. The king has the right to dissolve and reorganize the Council of Ministers; is commander-in-chief of the armed forces; declares states of emergency, general mobilization, and war; and governs by royal decree. The king has final authority. The majlis al-shura is perceived as a first step toward the development of a national legislature. Succession to the throne of Saudi Arabia is from among the surviving sons of King Ibn Saud. One hundred princes from among several thousand are selected to determine who will become king and crown prince. The Royal Family of Saudi Arabia has displayed a remarkable unity since 1932, although internal conflict did arise between King Saud (1953-1964) and the brother who ultimately deposed him, Crown Prince Faisal. Faisal was himself assassinated by a disturbed nephew in 1975.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceSaudi Arabia - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education