Sa'udi Arabia - Political parties

Although there are no political parties in Sa'udi Arabia, various groups do function as blocs, contending for influence. Important among these groups are the conservative 'ulama (religious scholars) and the members of the royal family. Other alliances—by merchants, businessmen, professionals, and leading families—are concerned with economic matters. There is also a small but growing middle class that seems to want greater political participation and a less restrictive social environment. Each group brings its weight to bear on the policymaking bodies of the government and the king, whose leadership is upheld so long as he adheres to Islamic law, tradition, and the collective decisions of the 'ulama. In opposition to the royal family are small, strictly outlawed groups of pro-democracy activists and extremist Islamists, who have engaged in terrorist attacks, principally against signs of Western influence. Identified groups connected with Islamists include the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights, The Reform Movement, and the Islamic Awakening.

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