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Saudi Arabia

31 female candidates withdraw from polls

MADINAH: Thirty-one female candidates have withdrawn from the upcoming municipal council elections.
This is according to Jedaie’ Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the committee overseeing the polls, who said there would now be 1,071 women candidates contesting the elections on Dec. 12.
These withdrawals took place in governorates across the Kingdom and are not an indication that there is any less enthusiasm for the polls, he was quoted as saying by a local publication on Monday.
Al-Qahtani said it was perfectly legal for candidates to withdraw, whether a man or woman, if they do not have the ability to continue. They can withdraw before the announcement of the final list of candidates, which is how it is done in other parts of the world.
He said some may have withdrawn to favor others, which was normal. Also, they may have done so because of the cost of participating, which ranges from SR50 and SR500, in addition to buying advertising space, including the cost of billboards, which are calculated according to size.
He said there are 6,400 male candidates standing for positions on municipal councils across the country.
The third municipal elections were approved in a royal decree last year and would see women standing and voting for the first time. The voting age has been reduced from 21 to 18 years to allow for the participation of young people.
The first elections saw 179 councils set up with 1,212 members, with the second elections having 285 councils and 2,112 members.
The upcoming polls would see 284 councils with 3,159 members, two-thirds or 2,106 elected, on condition that each council not exceed 30 members, and with one-third appointed by the minister of municipal and rural affairs.

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