The politics of Saudi Arabia takes place in the context of an absolute monarchy founded upon the tenets of Islam. The King of Saudi Arabia is both head of state and the head of government, but decisions are, to a large extent, made on the basis of consultation among the senior princes of the royal family and the religious establishment. The Qur'an is declared to be the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of Islamic law (Shari'a).
Government is dominated by the vast royal family, the Al Saud, which has often been divided by internal disputes and into factions. The members of the family are the principle political actors. Political participation outside of the royal family is limited, but there has been pressure for some time to broaden participation. In recent years, there has been a rise in Islamist activism, which has also resulted in Islamist terrorism.
... Saudi Municipal elections took place in 2005 and some journalists saw this as a first tentative step towards the introduction of democratic processes in the Kingdom, including the legalization of political ... Other analysts of the Saudi political scene were more skeptical ...
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