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Topic: Elections in Saudi Arabia

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In the News (Fri 24 May 19)

  Saudi Arabia: Women's exclusion from elections undermines progress - news.amnesty - Amnesty International   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-11)
Saudi Arabia is gearing up for the country's first nationwide municipal elections early next year, but half of the population will not be taking part.
Women in Saudi Arabia continue to challenge many severe forms of discrimination in the fields of personal status, employment, participation in public life, the subordination of women to men, and restrictions on their freedom of movement.
Saudi Arabia's ratification of CEDAW should mean that it has accepted its responsibility to improve women's human rights situation in the country.
news.amnesty.org /index/ENGMDE230152004   (1021 words)

 Just for show? - Salon
Saudi Arabia's upcoming municipal elections are unlikely to change the status quo -- for one thing, women won't be voting.
Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most traditional absolute monarchies, will take a tentative step toward democracy Thursday when male citizens go to the polls in the first municipal elections in 40 years.
The elections are one of the first tangible parts of a reform program urged by Crown Prince Abdullah, the country's day-to-day ruler, in the face of stiff resistance from ultra-conservatives, especially among the clergy.
dir.salon.com /story/news/feature/2005/02/09/saudi_elections/index.html   (697 words)

 City Mayors: Saudi municipal elections
Saudi Arabia has announced it has postponed municipal elections, originally scheduled for the autumn of 2004, to February 2005.
The Saudi government's decision to hold municipal elections was described by observers as the first tangible political reform act in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the press that the Saudi leaders were not experimenters.
www.citymayors.com /report/saudi_elections.html   (1212 words)

 SUSRIS - Elections in Saudi Arabia
Further, the dynamics of decision- and policy-making in Saudi Arabia are neither fundamentally nor, in many cases, substantially different from the relationship dynamics between governors and governed in the United States.
In advance of the election of municipal councilors in Saudi Arabia, what is unknown is the exact extent to which the councilors on their own initiative will be free to discuss and debate matters of public policy or introduce new legislation, rules or regulations.
The dynamics of consultation and consensus in Saudi Arabia are almost certain to remain essential components of good governance that concerned citizens - not as a matter of convenience or preference, but as a matter of right and custom - will continue to insist on being able to witness in action.
www.saudi-us-relations.org /articles/2005/ioi/050210-saudi-elections-anthony.html   (2810 words)

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Saudi Arabia may start fingerprinting Americans 10/7/02 The News, Pakistan: "Saudi Arabia is expected to start finger-printing Americans entering the kingdom in response to a similar measure introduced by the United States last week, the US embassy said on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia: The Sarajevo of the 21st Century 8/26/02 Center for Research on Globalization: "In his appearance on Australian television Dr. al-Fagih discussed the likelihood of a Balkanization of Saudi Arabia by dividing the kingdom into three separate states and separating the eastern oil provinces from the holy sites in the west.
Saudis behind Russian blast plot 7/25/02 Times of India: "Unidentified plotters in Saudi Arabia were behind an attempted bombing in southern Russia which was averted by the police last week, security sources told the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday.
www.afrocubaweb.com /news/arabia.htm   (6190 words)

 USATODAY.com - Saudi Arabia announces its first municipal elections   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-11)
Elections will be held in 14 municipalities throughout the country, with only half their members being elected, the statement said.
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, ordered relevant government bodies to complete, within one year, all necessary procedures for the elections.
Saudi Arabia adheres to the puritan Wahhabi sect of Islam, which enforces a strict moral code.
www.usatoday.com /news/world/2003-10-13-saudi-elections_x.htm   (735 words)

 deseretnews.com | Apathy keeps registrations low for first Saudi Arabia elections
Despite a campaign urging residents to register before Thursday's deadline, Saudi men — women are barred from voting — have shown little enthusiasm for elections in a kingdom long regarded as autocratic, secretive and resistant to reform.
The elections for half the 178 council members — the rest will be appointed by the government — are part of the kingdom's measured response to calls for reforms long sought by liberals.
Some Saudis will only be convinced of the importance of municipal polls after they see the improvements that councils can make in roads, city planning and the environment, he said.
deseretnews.com /dn/view/0,1249,595113790,00.html   (784 words)

 Foldvary: Democracy in Saudi Arabia
On February 10, elections to municipal councils were held in the region around Alreyad or Riyadh, the capital of Al-Mamlaka al-Arabiya as-Saudiya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Given the culture of Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive cars, the exclusion of women is not surprising, but will have to change, even if the government officials think they have to set up separate voting places for women.
The Saudi government may have been responding in part to external elements, but it was mostly internal pressure that led to the elections and could continue to bring the kingdom ever closer to a constitutional monarchy with a democratic government.
www.progress.org /2005/fold391.htm   (709 words)

 Focus on Saudi Arabia: February 2005 e-Bulletin: Muslim Youth in Europe: Muslim World Initiative: U.S. Institute of ...
Saudi Arabia was also a major ideological pillar in the United States’ fight against Arab nationalism and communism in the region.
Lastly, despite immense wealth, Saudi Arabia suffers from serious economic and social problems: in this country of 22 million, 75% of the population is under 21 and 20% of the active workforce is unemployed.
Saudi “liberals,” those men and women who support power sharing and a more open society, also wrote numerous petitions to the Crown Prince asking among many things for more participation of the people in the political process, elections to the appointed Majlis as-Shura, an end to corruption, and an independent judiciary system.
www.usip.org /muslimworld/bulletin/2005/february.html   (3246 words)

 Middle East Institute: Policy Brief
Greater opportunities for participation in society and the political process allow for differences of opinion within Saudi Arabia to be voiced peacefully, dissipating the allure of extremism and violence.
He emphasized that Saudi Arabia is not a repressive society overall and that attitudes vary greatly from region to region despite the media image of a homogeneous and ultra-conservative society.
Saudis, particularly the younger generation, desire an active role in society and demand innovative ideas and approaches.
www.mideasti.org /articles/doc381.html   (835 words)

 The Epoch Times | Saudi Citizens Vote for the First Time in Municipal Elections
In trying to establish what the Saudi kingdom calls a mechanism for Saudi citizens to slowly begin a process of democratic reform, the first-ever municipal elections are being held in Saudi Arabia.
"I think having elections in Saudi Arabia now is very important, because Saudi Arabia has normally had a different system, by which elections were not counted as one of the tools," Mr.
Although political reform is not happening fast enough for many Saudi citizens, even the harshest critics of the elections have said a slow process is better than none at all.
www.theepochtimes.com /news/5-2-10/26371.html   (463 words)

 Saudi women denied voting rights - World - www.theage.com.au
Last month the Saudi Government announced that, contrary to earlier indications, women would not be allowed to vote or stand for election to municipal councils that are being touted as the absolute monarchy's first steps towards representative government.
Even within the family, their rights as wives and mothers are eroded by Saudi Arabia's interpretation of Muslim law, which restricts their inheritance rights and makes it easy for men to divorce them or - often much worse in practice - take up to three more wives.
In practice, though, both sides in the debate acknowledge that the real reason for the change of heart is the Government's desire not to provoke the clerics of the hardline Wahabi sect and the ultra-conservative tribal leaders who are the biggest powers in the land after the royal family itself.
www.theage.com.au /articles/2004/10/31/1099189931117.html?oneclick=true   (808 words)

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The latest delay, the second since the original announcement in 2003, indicates that the Saudi royal family is divided over the present usefulness of the sort of broadened political participation that the United States considers vital to combating the militant Islamism of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
These elections were to be held "within a year." It was not until August 2004 that an election timetable was announced: voting was to take place in the province surrounding Riyadh in November; five more provinces would vote in late January 2005; and the remaining seven provinces would hold elections in late February.
Saudi newspaper commentary on this issue has ranged from the conservative (e.g., that it is "logical and Islamic" for women to "concentrate on other activities") to the more liberal (e.g., that Saudi women have "the qualifications that enable them to assume their responsibilities," and that they should therefore be allowed to take part).
www.washingtoninstitute.org /templateC05.php?CID=1781   (1186 words)

 UNDP-POGAR: Programme on Governance in the Arab Region: Elections
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is governed by a hereditary monarch.
Saudi liberal intellectuals said that candidates close to Islamic circles and inclinations would naturally win in the first municipal elections to take place in 40 years in a conservative Muslim country.
Prince Mansour, who headed the general elections committee, called on professional and academic non-governmental associations and societies, including the Journalists Association, to monitor the elections in their capacity as independent entities.
www.pogar.org /countries/elections.asp?cid=16   (450 words)

 S. Arabia likely to delay LB elections -DAWN - International; 28 May, 2004
When the announcement for election for half of the members of the 14 municipal councils was made last October, it was envisaged that these would take place within a year.
Other reports have since said elections would be held within three years to fill one-third of the Shoura's 120 seats and that half the members of regional councils would be elected within two years.
He told the press that such inaction by the officials responsible for holding the elections would only add to confusion and bewilderment in the society, and people would start doubting the intentions behind the announcement by the Crown Prince about the elections and the overall reforms process.
www.dawn.com /2004/05/28/int9.htm   (284 words)

 Saudi Arabia (Harpers.org)
Saudi Arabia banned the importation of stuffed animals, female dolls, crucifixes, and statues of the Buddha.
Karen Hughes visited Saudi Arabia and expressed hope that women in that country would someday be able to "fully participate in society." A woman in the audience countered, "We're all pretty happy." Another audience member charged that the United States had become "a right wing country" that did not allow freedom of the press.
In Saudi Arabia 345 people were trampled to death while attempting to finish the “stoning-of-the-devil” ritual of the Hajj.
harpers.org /SaudiArabia.html   (1695 words)

 Democracy stirs in the Arab world | csmonitor.com
Millions of votes could set a precedent for a continuing process of elections and a gradual political opening, and at least will send a rare ray of light into a politically cloistered world where public attitudes are difficult to gauge and citizens rarely have a chance to pass judgment on their leaders.
In Saudi Arabia, though its elections will be its first of any kind since the 1960s, they are for largely ceremonial municipal councils and, in practice, won't yield much authority to elected representatives.
The Saudi monarchy will remain caught between Islamist clerics who want even more stringent Islamic law and more influence for themselves and the broader mass of Saudi citizens, who would like more input into how their country is run and how its massive oil revenues are spent.
www.csmonitor.com /2004/1216/p01s04-wome.htm   (1234 words)

 Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-11)
Yet, the primary catalyst for the elections was not simply unprecedented and large-scale regional and international developments, but rather, the interplay between these factors and emerging new social realities and dynamics within Saudi Arabia, many of which endangered the social, economic, and cultural relations between state and society.
Saudi liberals could not successfully compete with the Islamists outside of educational institutions, but only achieved visibility and a degree of influence in their capacity as distinguished members of Saudi Arabia’s media sector.
Finally, the municipal elections cannot easily be described as “democratic” if we understand the word “democracy” to signify citizens’ freedom to choose their own representatives in the political arena by means of elections.
www.arab-reform.net /article.php3?id_article=1   (3377 words)

 Venezuela and Saudi Arabia: A Tale of Two Countries
The first is Saudi Arabia, a fundamentalist theocracy that, according to the U.S. State Department, whips and beheads political dissidents; doesn't allow women to vote; squashes political protest; amputates the hands of thieves; regularly censors the press; and has been linked by numerous reports to the Al Qaeda terrorist network that was behind the 9/11 attacks.
The second is Venezuela, a republican democracy where elections are hotly contested and closely scrutinized by international observers; political rallies regularly draw hundreds of thousands of partisans into the street; an independent press routinely criticizes top government officials; and a presidential recall referendum will take place on August 15.
Saudi Arabia has a feudal monarchy; Venezuela has the most closely watched electoral democracy of any country in the Western Hemisphere.
www.commondreams.org /views04/0712-06.htm   (1038 words)

 Telegraph | News | Saudi Arabia to hold first local council elections
The only previous elections in Saudi Arabia were conducted by businessmen for the head of the Saudi chamber of commerce.
Many in America are furious that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis, and about Saudi Arabia's wider role in financing Islamic militants and spreading extremist ideology.
Analysts say the local elections are an attempt to win back political legitimacy, particularly among aggrieved groups such as the southern tribes and the Shi'ites who make up a majority of the oil-rich Eastern Province.
www.telegraph.co.uk /news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/10/14/wsaud14.xml   (650 words)

 netWMD - Saudi Women Must be Allowed to Vote and Run for Office
The anticipated election is part of a drive to introduce political reforms in Saudi Arabia.
While we strongly support Saudi Arabia for attempting political reform and for being an important and strategic ally in the war on terrorism, we don't believe that women were barred for logistical reasons.
Having women vote and run for office was unpopular among the Saudi religious establishment and unfortunately, the government of Saudi Arabia once again caved in to the fanatics within their society.
netwmd.com /articles/article888.html   (580 words)

 Saudi Arabia: Hard Liners sweep the board in local council elections
The majority of the population, especially young people showed no interest in these elections, because for them this it was seen as a useless exercise which would not make any significant change or difference to their lives.
The elections were held to fill some of the 600 seats of 178 municipal councils in Saudi Arabia while the rest of them will be filled by nominations from the King.
There are many people in Saudi Arabia who have lost their fear of state repression and prosecution, and one of the side effects of the economic improvement may be that sections of the population begin to fight for their rights.
www.socialistworld.net /eng/2005/05/16saudi.html   (1998 words)

 Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | Tinkering here and there   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-11)
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman have been experimenting with constitutional amendments and parliamentary and municipal elections; their stated aim being to boost political freedoms, improve the standing of women in public life, and create a climate of political and religious tolerance.
In Saudi Arabia, members of the emerging intelligentsia sign most of the reform petitions.
Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia have shown that citizens were ready for more political reform and participation in elections.
weekly.ahram.org.eg /2005/775/re181.htm   (1732 words)

 Saudi diplomat sees vote by women - The Washington Times: World Briefings - February 02, 2005   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-11)
The Saudi government has responded to international pressure to democratize the Middle East by promising municipal elections across the nation, with the first stage on Feb. 10 in the capital, Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with an unelected consultative council that acts like a parliament.
Many women in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and ruled by Shariah law, have balked at getting the ID cards — introduced three years ago — because the photographs would show their faces unveiled.
www.washtimes.com /world/20050201-105354-6565r.htm   (723 words)

 Municipal Elections - The Saudi Arabia Information Resource
Saudi citizens in Riyadh region are set to cast their ballots when they go to the polls today as part of nationwide municipal elections.
The citizens in Riyadh region will elect seven members of the municipal council, while seven other members will be appointed by the Government in line with the system of the municipal councils.
Prince Mansour bin Metib underlined the importance of participation in the municipal elections, and urged the media to cover the electoral process properly and accurately.
www.saudinf.com /main/y7859.htm   (230 words)

 BBC NEWS | Middle East | 'Islamist win' in key Saudi poll
The poll is part of an official plan to bring elements of democracy to the Gulf kingdom, with 1,800 candidates vying for 592 seats in 178 councils.
Despite a late flurry of electioneering in Riyadh, the excitement of candidates has not been matched by that of their constituents, our correspondent says.
A US state department spokesman said the polls were "a sign that Saudi Arabia is not immune to the reforms sweeping the region".
news.bbc.co.uk /2/hi/middle_east/4252079.stm   (482 words)

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