Saudi men vote in local elections

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Saudi men vote in local elections

Saudi men were voting in municipal elections, the last all-male affair in the Kingdom after a royal decree this week gave women the right to cast ballots in four years.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 29 Sep 2011, 4:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:47 AM

Some 5,324 candidates are competing for 1,056 seats to fill half the seats in the country’s 285 councils. The other half are appointed by the government.

The first elections in the Gulf kingdom, which has a population of around 27.5 million, including around 19 million Saudis, were held in 2005, but the government extended the existing council’s term for two years.

Around 1.2 million male voters have registered to take part.

The early hours of voting appeared to attract little interest on the first day of the Saudi weekend on Thursday and Friday.

The results of the vote are expected on Sunday.

Thursday’s polling comes just four days after The Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, granted women the right to vote and run in the next municipal elections in four years, a historic first for the ultra-conservative country.

In addition to participating in the only public polls in the country, King Abdullah also announced he had decided to admit women to the Shura Council, an all-appointed consultative body.

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