Saudi Arabia to permit prisoners to vote, ban women
Saudi Arabia, Politics, 11/23/2004
The Saudis start today Tuesday registration on the election lists in preparation for municipal voting due in 2005 in the first elections in the history of the kingdom in which women are not permitted to take part.
The elections will start as from the 10th of February and will be held on three stages the last of which will be on April 21. Half the number of the members of the 178 municipal council will be elected in 13 areas in the Kingdom while the Saudi government will appoint the other members. The director of prisons in Riyadh area Lt. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani said in statements that the prisoners will be able to cast their votes.
For his part, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Muhammad al-Muqarran, the secretary of Riyadh city said that women do not have the right to vote or nominate themselves for the elections but their participation will be discussed in the next elections during 4 years. He ruled out the existence of foreign observers in these elections. Riyadh municipality announced it has allocated 140 offices in schools, sport clubs and universities to register the voters in an operation which is presumed to last until December 22nd.
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