DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Saudi Arabia in 2017 laid the groundwork for momentous change next year, defying its conservative reputation for slow, cautious reforms by announcing plans to let women drive, allow movie theaters to return and to issue tourist visas. The kingdom could even get a new king.
King Salman and his ambitious 32-year-old son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have upended decades of royal family protocol, social norms and traditional ways of doing business.
They bet instead on a young generation of Saudis hungry for change and a Saudi public fed up with corruption and government bureaucracy.
FILE – In this July, 23, 2017 file photo, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman poses while meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. This past year, Saudi Arabia laid the groundwork for momentous change next year in the conservative kingdom, defying its own reputation for slow-paced, cautious reforms. (Presidency Press Service/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Saudi Arabia announced in September it would finally lift a ban on women driving, becoming the last country in the world to allow women to get behind the wheel.
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