Saudi opposition figures announced the formation of a party called the “National Assembly” to establish a democratic path to rule in Saudi Arabia, in the first organized political move against power during the reign of King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The party’s founding statement said that its goal is to avoid the country from sliding into unrest or violent paths, and to enhance Saudi cooperation with the world regionally and internationally in the interests of the people.
The statement of the establishment of the National Rally Party called for a fully elected parliament, and the separation of the three legislative, judicial and executive powers in accordance with constitutional controls.
In the statement, the party also spoke of a “blockage of the political horizon,” calling for peaceful change to counter “the authority’s continuous use of violence and oppression practices.”
– The National Rally Party (@The_NAAS) September 23, 2020
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that does not allow any political opposition. The formation of the National Rally Party on the kingdom’s ninetieth National Day comes amid a mounting crackdown on dissent.
“The timing is very important … the climate of repression is increasing,” Madawi Al-Rasheed, an academic and a member of the National Rally Party, told Reuters. She stated that the party would work with international organizations such as the United Nations and human rights groups without calling for protests in the Kingdom.
Among the members of the new party are Yahya Asiri, head of the London-based ALQST human rights organization, Abdullah al-Awda, son of the imprisoned Islamic preacher Salman al-Awda, prominent academic Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi, and Shiite activist Ahmed al-Mushaikhs.
Abdullah Al-Odah told Reuters that the National Rally Party aims to establish a national movement by working with “everyone inside and outside the ruling family.”