Saudi activists seek political party

The London-based Gulf Dialogue Forum says intense contacts are under way among Saudi activists and scholars to form a political party in the oil-rich absolute monarchy.

The online forum said Tuesday the National Saudi Party advocates establishing a civil democratic government because of the recent turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt.

Last week, Sheik Mohammed bin Ghanim al-Qahtani and nine university teachers, political activists and businessmen said they formed a party of their own, the Umma Islamic Party.

There has been no official reaction to either announcement.

Political activity in Saudi Arabia is severely circumscribed and all power rests in the hands of the ruling Saudi family.