Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saudi elections delay may solve women's vote, transparency issues

The announcement the other day that municipal elections scheduled this year in Saudi Arabia have been pushed back two years has got me thinking about the long road we have ahead of us for good citizen representation.

The elections were held to great acclaim as the new age in Saudi Arabia when ballots were cast in 2005 and municipal councils were elected. There was the democratic-style campaigning among Saudi liberals, conservatives and businessmen.

The Saudi government quashed protests from Saudi women to be allowed to run for office or at least vote.

We were told our moment hasn’t come. Apparently the country needed time to put infrastructure in place to ensure Saudi society could handle the cataclysmic earthquakes and 100-year floods that would ensue when the first woman stepped into the voting booth.

But here we are four years later and Saudi Arabia has little to show for those elections. And what exactly will 2011 bring? A voice for Saudi citizens in their government? While it is all well and good to elect a municipal council, it would help if we knew what the municipal council did for us. If men were elected to public office, wouldn’t it make sense that the official would be held accountable to the voters who elected him?

For the complete article, please click here.

NOTE: Just a reminder to my readers that my articles originally published at can be read in full by accessing the link above. My columns originally published in the Saudi Gazette can be read in full on this site each week.

1 comment:

ratherdashing said...

This is the typical Saudi "Catch-22". You can't have elections until laws are changes to expand the participation of citizens. But the expanded participation laws hinge on elected officials responding to the desires of the electorate. So, no changes will be made until elections are held and elections won't be held until changes are made.

What utter BS!

It's just like women driving. No woman can drive until society changes it's views. Society won't change its views until women are driving and all become comfortable with it. So no female drives, as a result.

Stall. Delay. Procrastinate. Inshallah. Obfuscate. It's the Saudi way.