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AFP
September 24, 2020

Exiled Saudi dissidents launch opposition party

National

AFP
September 24, 2020

LONDON: A group of Saudi dissidents exiled in countries including Britain and the US announced Wednesday the launch of an opposition party, the first organised political resistance under King Salman´s rule.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that does not tolerate any political opposition, but the formation of the National Assembly Party on the kingdom´s national day comes amid a growing state crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression. "We hereby announce the establishment of the National Assembly Party, which aims to institute democracy as a form of government in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the group said in a statement.

The party is headed by prominent London-based human rights activist Yahya Assiri, and its members include academic Madawi al-Rasheed, researcher Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi, US-based Abdullah Alaoudh and Canada-based Omar Abdulaziz, sources close to the outfit told AFP.

The development is unlikely to unseat the Arab world´s most powerful monarchy, but the development poses a fresh challenge to Saudi Arabia´s rulers as they grapple with low crude oil prices and gear up to host a G20 summit in November.

"We are announcing the launch of this party at a critical moment to try to save our country to institute a democratic future and to respond to our people´s aspirations," Assiri, the party´s general secretary, said.