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A Guide to Saudi Arabia Politics: 3. Information on voting

Voting

Due
to the fact that the King holds all power in the country and is enhanced by the
supporters from royal family, voting is becoming an innovative part of the
Saudi Government. The King appoints all the main officials in the country,
therefore, the elections are held on the lower level. In 2005, the local
elections in 178 municipalities were first held (Ziegler) where only men over
21 have the right to vote. Nevertheless, King Abdullah quickly moved towards
the constituency’s expansion and in 2011 announced that women will have the
voting rights during the municipal elections in 2015. As for the Consultative
Council there is an obvious progress in women’s participation in the state
affairs. In January 2013, the King elected 30 women to participate in Council’s
work for a 4-year term and passed the law, according to which 20% of women
should constitute the Council’s membership (Ziegler). The elections of 2011
implemented the same scheme as in 2005: the men voted for over 300
representatives in the municipal council, whereas the government appointed
another 300 (Nelson). Despite Abdullah’s efforts to involve people in the
governing process, the turnout rate was astonishingly small – less than 5% of
voters. The involvement of women in 2015 promises to increase the turnout rate.
Meanwhile, elections are being promoted in the educational and economic spheres.
The other types of elections in the Kingdom include industry elections,
university elections, professional councils election, and council of
journalists’ elections, sport clubs elections, and cooperative societies
elections. Such increase in the population’s participation creates the
foundations for the parliamentary elections (“Election in Saudi”).