31 female candidates withdraw from polls

Updated 27 October 2015
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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MADINAH: Thirty-one female candidates have withdrawn from the upcoming municipal council elections.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He said some may have withdrawn to favor others, which was normal.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.


Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

Updated 18 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy program is fundamental for developing a sustainable energy sector, a senior minister told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.
The Kingdom plans to start building its first two nuclear power reactors this year and as many as 16 over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. The plan is to provide 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s power from nuclear by 2032.
Speaking athe IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the atomic reactor projects were were part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify its energy sources to nuclear and renewables.
The program “abides by all international treaties and conventions and best practices, adhering to the highest standards of safety, security and transparency,” Al Falih said.
The minister said Saudi Arabia was committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.
He also said the Kingdom had called for cooperation with the international community to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons free area.
The US has started to reintroduce heavy sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after Donald Trump pulled out of a deal with the country earlier this year to curb its atomic ambitions.
Al-Falih called on the international community to take a more stringent stance against all threats to regional and international security, particularly Iran, given its “alarming efforts to build its nuclear capabilities, in tandem with its increasing acts of sabotage and aggression against other states in the region.”