PROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5520 posts, RR: 5 Posted (8 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 8965 times:
Today Saudi Arabia is holding its first elections in decades. Voters in the Riyadh region will be choosing candidates for municipal councils, with those in other parts of the country following over the next couple of months.
It's easy to dismiss the elections as pointless. Only half of the seats on each municipal council will be up for vote, with other half, as well as each council's mayor, to be appointed by the (unelected) central government. It's also unclear whether the councils will have more than symbolic power. In addition, only men are permitted to vote, and reports say that voter registration levels are fairly low.
And yet - in one sense, this is the very first opening, however tentative, for democracy in what has hitherto been the world's least democratic country with the possible exception of North Korea. Dismissing the elections as a meaningless gesture is premature, in my opinion. It might be that Saudi Arabia will never move any further toward popular rule. But it's too early to make such a gloomy assumption.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
Iakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3310 posts, RR: 36 Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 14 hours ago) and read 8918 times:
Perhaps small and short and devoid of direct significance, but a step in the right direction anyway.
Eventhough voter turnout was (apparently) low (30-35%?), the picture is there and will remain.
Let these people start getting used to it and they will start complaining if it does not happen again in the future. The path has been created.
The rest is a matter of time.
I suspect the Sauds are making job conversion plans for say....2-3 generations down the road.
Any linkeage with GWB (bold) move in 2003 ? I think so.