First municipal elections announced in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, Politics, 7/12/2004
Saudi Arabia announced the completion of procedural measures to carry out the first municipal elections in the country in order to elect half members of the municipal council in Autumn.
Minister of municipal and rural affairs Prince Mut'ib Bin Abdul Aziz said that ballot centers will be defined as well as the date to registering the voters in 178 municipal council, according to set lists including all cities and villages in the Kingdom's 13 districts.
The beginning of the school year- mid of September- was set a date for these measures. The minister considered this step as a means to expand citizen's participation in running internal affairs, but Prince Mut'ib did not explain whether the authorities will permit women to vote or be elected in these elections.
In October 2003, Saudi Arabia announced its intention to make the first municipal elections since four decades on order to permit vaster political contributions and freedom of expression.
However, certain diplomats find no chance to make the same elections during this period. Moreover, detaining several reformers in March and the current events affected the cautious reform program which is supervised by the Saudi crown prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz in recent months.
Saudi Arabia rejects making any political changes under foreign pressures. The Saudi crown prince Abdullah vowed in January this year to proceed into gradual and tangible change.
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