Saudi women will run for the next municipal elections under the same rules as male candidates, the local Arabic daily Al-Watan reported this week, quoting a senior official of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
“All conditions which men are asked to fulfill will equally apply to women intending to run for the next municipal elections,” said Jidaie bin Nahar Al-Qahtani, director of the affairs of the municipal council in the ministry.
He said the system of the municipal councils does not differentiate between men and women on the question of participation. “The only difference will be in the executive procedures to be followed in voting which are currently being studied by the ministry,” he added.
Al-Qahtani said the system of the municipal council has been forwarded to the supreme authority and will soon be announced. “People should not confuse between the participation of women in municipal elections and the system of the councils. They are two different things,” he said.
The conditions needed for contesting municipal elections stipulate that the candidate should be a Saudi citizen, not less than 25 years old, should know how to read and right, legally eligible and should not be in military service.
The first municipal elections were held about seven years ago. At that time women were not allowed to contest or cast their votes. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has recently approved the participation of women in municipal elections both as candidates and voters.