Country Governance

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Basic Information

Country Flag:
Country Map: United Nations Maps: Saudi Arabia
Country Name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (al-Mamlakah al-Arabiyah as-Saudiyah)
Name of Capital City: Riyadh
Date of Independence: The unification of the kingdom took place on September 23, 1932.

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 13 provinces (mintaqat): Al Bahah, Al Hudud Ash Shamaliyah, Al Jawf, Al Maadinah, Al Qasim, Ar Riyad, Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Province), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jizan, Makkah, Najran, Tabuk.
Country Area (sq km): 2240000
Population (million): 24.7 (2007)
Population, annual growth rate (%) 1975-2005: 3.1
Population, estimated growth rate (%) 2005-2015: 2.1

Political System

Type of State: Monarchy/unitary
Date of Constitution: The Basic Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was adopted by King Fahd in March 1992, and introduced in 1993.

Head of State

Type: The head of state is the King, a hereditary position.
Name of Current: Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud ascended the throne of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on August 3, 2005 following the death of King Fahd on August 1st, 2005. Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud was chosen as the new crown prince.

Executive Branch

About: The King also serves as the Prime Minister.
Name of Current: King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud is also the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. He became the Prime Minister following the death of King Fahd on August 1st, 2005.

Legislative Branch

Type: Unicameral system
- Consultative Council [English][Arabic]


- See Also: Saudi Arabia - Election Calendar and Results

Human Development Indicators

Human development index (HDI): 0.752 (2010)
HDI rank (worldwide): 55 (2010)
Adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and older): 85 (2007)
Female secondary gross enrollment (%): 90.1 (2005)
Gross enrollment, tertiary level education (%): 26.9 (2006)
Life expectancy at birth (years): 13.472 (2010)
Poverty index (HP1-1) value (%): 12.1 (2007)
GDP per capita (PPP US$): 24726.005 (2010)
GDP per capita (PPP US$) rank minus HDI rank: -20 (2010)
* See more human development indicators on Arab Statistics (external link)

Judiciary Branch

Legal system and codification: Principles of Shari’a.
Administration: The Supreme Judicial Council is empowered to appoint, promote, and transfer judges.
Supreme Court: Judicial jurisdiction was transferred in 2007 from the “Supreme Judicial Council” to the “Supreme Court” which is a new entity charged with monitoring the implementation of the provisions of Islamic Law and making sure that all other laws do not contradict Sharia’.
Constitutional Court:
Shari'a or Personal Status: King Abdullah Bin Abd-Alaziz approved on October 2, 2007 a significant reform initiative with regard to the judicial system. The new judicial order asserts that judges are independent and not subjected to any authority in carrying out their duties other than the provisions of Islamic law (Shari’) and existing regulations.

Membership in International Organizations

United Nations (UN): October 24, 1945
International Monetary Fund (IMF): August 26, 1957
World Trade Organization (WTO): December 12, 2005
Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC): Not signed
World Bank – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): August 26, 1957
World Bank – International Finance Corporation (IFC): September 18, 1962
World Bank – Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): April 12, 1988
World Bank – International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): June 7, 1980

Ratification of International Conventions

- Human Rights Conventions
- International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions
- UN Conventions against Corruption and Transnational Organized Crime
- Environment Treaties