Chairman of the Municipal Election Commission Abdul Rahman Al-Dahmash said the participation of women in the next election as voters and candidates would strengthen the Kingdom’s electoral experience. He hoped the spirit of the National Day would encourage all Saudis to participate actively in the Sept. 29 elections.
Jedaie Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the commission, described the king’s announcement as historic. “It allows women to participate in municipal elections on an equal footing with men,” he pointed out. He said the decision came in line with the king’s desire to involve all members of the society in nation-building efforts.
Speaking about the coming elections, Al-Qahtani urged all voters to show their IDs or other identification documents when entering polling booths. Voters will be presented a list of candidates and each one is allowed to vote once. If they mark more than one candidate the vote will be invalid.
Professor Abdul Elah Saaty, dean of the College of Business in Rabigh, said King Abdullah’s decision would have a big impact on the Saudi society. “Women account for half of the society, nobody can ignore them. They have been participating in the development process by making their contributions to most sectors,” he said.
Saaty underscored the high caliber and capabilities of Saudi women. “They hold important positions not only in the Kingdom but also in several international organizations,” he said and cited Thoraya Obaid as an example. Obaid is the former executive director of the UN Population Fund (2000–2010) and a former undersecretary-general of the United Nations.
The first Saudi national to be appointed head of a UN agency, she was previously director of the fund’s division for Arab States and Europe, as well as deputy executive secretary for the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. She holds a Ph.D from Wayne State University in Michigan.
Saaty also cited Dr. Hayat Sindi, an internationally reputable scientist, as another example. Sindi is a visiting scholar of Harvard University and co-founder, director and chair of International Science and Business Affairs. Sindi is a member of the British Top Young Researcher at the House of Commons. She was awarded the Young Professional Award
Full Article: Saudi society to change forever – Arab News.