King Fahd on 29 November issued a royal decree increasing the power of the country's 120-member Majlis al-Shoura council (consultative council). The new decree means that the council will now be allowed to propose new laws and amendments to existing laws without first asking permission from the king. The ruling will also force the cabinet to send laws back to the Majlis for amendment should the two councils disagree on an issue. Previous procedure required it to go to the king. 'This decree will solidify the legislative power in the hands of the Majlis,' said Majlis member Ihsan bu-Hulaiqa. 'It will give us more authority.'
Riyadh on 13 October announced that the kingdom would hold its first ever elections. Local councils will have one year to implement necessary changes to allow for the elections. The kingdom has been under increasing pressure from the international community to reform its political system, particularly from the US (MEED 14:11:03).