Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, has announced it will hold its first council elections in a move seen as the kingdom's first real political reform.
The government decided to "widen the participation of citizens in running local affairs through elections", the state news agency SPA reported.
Half the members of future councils will be elected under the reform.
The kingdom has never had any elections at any level since its creation under the Saud dynasty in 1932.
The council elections are to be held within a year, SPA added.