What makes Saudi Arabia a non democratic country?

What makes Saudi Arabia a non democratic country?

Democracy is a form of government in which the citizens influence the government’s decisions and laws. Democracy is the preferred form of government in many countries because of various benefits such as equal rights, protection from government oppression, equal treatment of every citizen, promotion of international stability and peace, accountability of rulers, and exploitation of collective wisdom in decision-making (Patrick 11). However, some countries such as Saudi Arabia are considered to be non-democratic. This report critically analyzes the reasons why Saudi Arabia is non-democratic, including the characteristics that distinguish it from democratic nations. Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian form of government which lacks the basic features of a democracy such as constitutionalism, individuals’ freedom rights, and representation in government.

Saudi Arabia’s Form of Government

Saudi Arabia’s government is a hereditary monarchy in which people are ruled by the members of one family. For example, when King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud died in 2005 after suffering a stroke, his brother, Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz took over the country’s leadership (Sarkissian 63). After the death of Abdullah in 2015, his half-brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz took over the throne.  However, Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is different from those of countries such as the United Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy in that the leader holds unlimited power, makes the law, and is above the law. In contrast, the UK monarchy is limited because the monarch only has power over ceremonial functions. The real political power in Britain is held by the parliament and cabinet and prime minister who are democratically elected (Payne and Nassar 6). The Saudi regime adheres to the Sunni Muslim theory in which an Islamic state rules based on the Islamic law and the ruler receives advice from the clergy on how to apply the law and interpret it to handle new circumstances (Brooker 55).


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