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What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:03 am

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"
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RE: What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:08 am

Convicted criminals can vote, no women can. Says it all, in my opinion.
Your bone's got a little machine
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RE: What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:17 am

Dr Johnson might have compared it to a dog walking on its hind legs.

It may not be done very well, but you are surprised to see it done at all.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
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RE: What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:34 am

Sham. Pure window-dressing.

I'll believe otherwise when Saudi Arabia is purged of radical Wahhabism.
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RE: What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 6:05 am

A total sham, being perpetrated so that GWB and his minions can natter on about liberty in the world, and feel sanctimonious about keeping Saudi Arabia off the list of neer do good thuggish nations.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
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RE: What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 6:15 am

The rulers will make shure that the elections won´t endanger their power.

Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
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RE: What To Make Of The Saudi Elections?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 6:26 am

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.

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