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A vision for a democratic Saudi Arabia free from the house of Saud

Author: Madawi al-Rasheed

Affiliation: Middle East Institute of the London School of Economics  

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Eye

Date/Place: September 25, 2020/UK

Type of Literature: Opinion Article

Word Count: 1250


Keywords: Saudi Arabia, Saudi National Assembly (NAAS), Democracy


On 23 September, six exiled Saudi academics and activists (including the author of this article) founded the Saudi National Assembly (NAAS). The main objective of this new party is to implement a real democracy in Saudi Arabia free from the house of Saud. The author explains how democracy as well as the institution of a political party is dubbed as a Western blasphemy, and that merely pronouncing these terms in Saudi Arabia could lead to detention and charges of sedition. Such an atmosphere necessitates establishing a new party according to the author. This new political party demands a real democracy such as election of a national assembly, separation of powers, and an independent judiciary. Madawi al-Rasheed elaborates on the economic and social programmes that NAAS promotes. For instance, the charter of the party asserts that all citizens (including immigrants) should be equal under the rule of law. On the international level, NAAS not only criticises “the aggressive foreign policy” of the kingdom in the region but it also emphasizes diplomacy as a method to protect the national interests. The author states that NAAS proposes a way forward for Saudi Arabia to fulfil the current and future vacuum.   

By: Fadi Zatari, CIGA Senior Research Associat



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