Chairman of the General Committee for Municipal Elections Prince Dr Mansour bin Meteb bin Abdulaziz announced at a press conference in Riyadh today that Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Meteb bin Abdulaziz has approved the timetable for holding the elections of municipal councils, now that the preparations are complete. The first stage will be in Riyadh Province on Thursday, Muharram 1, 1426 [February 10, 2005]; the second, in the Eastern Province, and the provinces of Asir, Jizan, Najran and Baha on Thursday, Muharram 22, 1426 [March 3, 2005]; and the third, in the provinces of Makkah, Madinah, Qasim, Tabuk, Hail, Jouf and the Northern Borders on Thursday, Rabi’ Al-Awal 12, 1426 [April 21, 2005].
Prince Mansour went on to announce the start next week of an awareness campaign to enlighten citizens on the importance of participating in this great national work in decision-making. In answer to questions, he commented that the participation of women is unlikely. He explained that even though the relevant regulations have not expressly banned women from municipal elections, when the decision was made, it was with the request that it be executed within one year, which was not enough time to arrange for women’s participation, given that there are 178 councils. He also commented that no foreign observers have been called for, as is the case in most local elections worldwide.