The General Election Commission announced on Saturday that it would not allow any illegal practices by candidates during their poll campaigns. It said as many as 5,609 are contesting the municipal council elections scheduled to be held on Sept. 29.
Jedaie Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the commission, said candidates should obtain special permission from local election committees to carry out election campaigns and publicity. “Candidates should follow certain rules and regulations during campaigns in order to avoid disciplinary action,” he said.
The commission said it had observed a number of illegal practices during the last election when some candidates formed alliances while some others circulated a list of candidates on the basis of tribes and ideological inclinations.
“We reject such practices as they go against the election law and campaign regulations,” the commission said. Candidates are not allowed to carry out any campaign from Sept. 18 to 28.
… Election centers in different provinces of the Kingdom pointed out that the number of registered voters was very low compared to the population in each province. “The citizens were cool to the registration drive as they were disappointed by the municipal councils’ work during the last term. They had expected that the councils would improve municipal services but it did not happen,” said one analyst.
According to the latest census conducted on April 28, 2010, there are 18,707,576 Saudis including 9,527,173 males representing 50.9 percent and 9,180,403 females. The number of expatriates amounted to 8,429,401 out of whom 5,932,974 were males representing 70.4 percent.
Women are not allowed to vote in the long-delayed municipal elections this year. Saudi Arabia held phased elections for half the seats on municipal councils in 2005 for the first time in over 40 years.