Municipal elections: 600 nominees out of final list
About 600 male and female candidates for the third municipal elections have been removed from the final list of contenders, according to chairman of the executive committee of the elections Judaie Al-Qahtani.
“The contestants have either voluntarily opted to back off or they were dismissed for various violations committed during their publicity campaigns,” he said.
Qahtani said there are now 6,915 men and women candidates running for the elections to choose two thirds of the members of the 284 municipal councils all over the Kingdom.
The remaining third will be appointed by the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs. Heads of municipalities will be x-officio members.
He said there are 1,486,477 male and female voters excluding military personnel and citizens under 18 who together represent about 40 percent of the total number of voters.
Qahtani said the Saudi NGOs, represented by the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), will monitor the elections to ensure that they are fair and smooth.
“There will be a day of silence during which no candidate will be allowed to talk about his or her program,” he said.
The elections will be held on Dec. 12 from 8 a.m to 5 p.m and the results are expected to be announced the same day.
Qahtani, who is the spokesman of the elections committee, said all candidates are prevented from using their photographs in the local media.
The spokesman said the candidates can introduce themselves to voters through social media but they are not allowed to use WhatsApp or SMS text messages.
“We do not want to violate the privacy of citizens through loading them with publicity material on their mobile phones,” he said. Qahtani revealed that as many as 4,080 candidates have applied for licenses for their electoral campaigns.
Meanwhile, a number of women candidates have resorted to social media to promote their candidacy.
Amal Al-Abadi, a woman candidate in Jeddah, said she was communicating with her voters through Twitter and Snapchat.
Rasha Hafzi, another woman candidate, started her campaign by the words: “We have started and we will continue.”
Sameera Abu Al-Shamat, a third woman candidate, was using Facebook, Twitter and the Instagram to communicate with her voters.
Observers, meanwhile, criticized the nonchalance of the youth toward the elections.