Can Nine Minimum Criteria Be Used for a Democracy in Yemen and Saudi Arabia?

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Schmitter and Karl (1991) listed Robert Dahl's seven minimum criteria for a political democracy and developed two of their own (p. 247). Most of the nine criteria, if not all, are irrelevant in my assigned countries, since both my assigned countries are non-democratic. Criteria one gives elected officials constitutional power to make policy. Under this criteria, Yemen and Saudi both differ. Saudi Arabia has a Shura council, which is an advisory body, but they do not enact and enforce laws, only the King can. In Yemen, there are elected officials and a parliament; however, the power they have is also limited. The second criteria guarantees fair elections with no coercion. In both countries, one cannot safely say that elections are …show more content…

Criteria seven is difficult to analyze, this criteria is the right of citizens to form and be part of groups or assemblies, and to organize and be part of organizations. Both countries claim that they have a pluralistic political system, and that many parties are allowed to organize and be part of the political system. However, many reports show that this might not necessarily be true. Saudi Arabia and Yemen are very influenced by Islamic law; thus, liberal or secular political parties are naturally suppressed. However, when it comes to the private business sector, Saudi Arabia seems to be more flexible. The country has private schools, private hospitals, and private pharmacies. For example, the Saudi German hospital in Jeddah, which is one of the best private hospitals not just in the country by also in the region (International Hospitals Construction Co. Ltd. [IHCC], n.d.). Moreover, Saudi Arabia has multiple private schools, such as the American International School in the capital Riyadh (U.S. Department of State, n.d.). These organizations are allowed to function with considerable flexibility within the country. Yemen also has a developing private sector. Recently a group of NGO's as well as government representatives organized a meeting in Saudi to discuss the private sector as well the humanitarian situation in

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