1.48m to vote in municipal polls

Updated 15 November 2015
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1.48m to vote in municipal polls

JEDDAH: Over 1.48 million men and women will vote in the Dec. 12 municipal council elections this year, according to the General Committee for the Municipal Council Elections.
Judai Al-Qahtani, head of the committee, said there would be over 1.35 million men and 130,637 women voters, according to a report in an online publication recently.
Al-Qahtani said there would be 548,945 new men and women voters, with men making up 418,380. There were 277,761 men and women found ineligible, which included 51,230 soldiers. Military personnel are not allowed to vote.
Officials removed from the voter’s roll the names of 30,086 deceased people, and 171,684 names that were repeated. The committee also removed 24,761 people for violating age and other criteria.
There were 791,411 voters in the first elections and 405,783 in the second one, according to reports. The third municipal elections were approved in a royal decree last year and will see two-thirds of the councils elected.
The voting age has been reduced from 21 to 18 years to allow for the participation of young people in the country’s decision-making. 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.
There are now 424 polling stations for women out of 1,263 in cities and governorates across the Kingdom, with local election committees formed for all regions. These committees oversee the validation of voter’s rolls and the smooth administration of polling stations.
Election committees are making sure that all citizens have an opportunity to participate including those who are ill or have physical disabilities. These people are allowed to nominate a person to participate on their behalf. Their representatives must produce certified documents to do so. If a citizen cannot participate, like a prisoner or detainee, a representative must be given power of attorney to do so.
According to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Interior Ministry would be responsible for security at polling stations and not private firms. The ministry had turned down a request from various municipalities across the country for private security firms to be employed during the elections.
It has urged all municipalities to coordinate all their security needs with the Interior Ministry inside and outside polling stations. Officials from the two ministries have already agreed to coordinate efforts on this aspect of the elections.


World celebrates Saudi National Day

Updated 6 min 51 sec ago
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World celebrates Saudi National Day

DUBAI: From Dubai to Beirut to New York and Washington, D.C., Saudi National Day was celebrated outside of the Kingdom on Sunday as a show of patriotism by Saudis abroad and as a sign of friendship by countries around the world.

The Dubai airline operated a special one-off A380 service, known as EK 813 and EK 814, on Sunday to the capital city of Riyadh, touching down at King Khalid International Airport at 3:30 p.m. The return flight was scheduled to depart at 6:50 p.m.

A YouTube video from Emirates also showed crew handing out scarves embroidered with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers while boarding the A380 aircraft.

 

The Burj Khalifa was illuminated with the Saudi flag last night, while the Nasdaq Tower’s electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square was lit up with photos of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

The images were posted by Nasdaq Dubai, the UAE-based operation of the New York equities exchange, on Twitter with the message: “Best wishes from #NasdaqDubai to #SaudiArabia on the occasion of the 88th National Day.”

 

 

In Lebanon, Pigeons’ Rock, also known as the Rock of Raouché, located in the sea of the western capital of Beirut, was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. The rock, one of the most important Lebanese monuments, was lit during a ceremony attended by the charge d'affaires of Saudi Arabia, Waleed bin Abdullah Bukhari, along with a crowd of dignitaries, including the Mayor of Beirut.

In Washington, the Saudi embassy’s National Day bus toured around the capital on the weekend inviting people to its celebrations on Sunday in National Harbor, Maryland.

In the UAE’s capital, the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police decorated 88 of their cars - one for every year being celebrated – with the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the words “Together Forever.”

The UAE’s airlines got in on the game. Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service on the routes EK 813 and EK 814 on Sunday to the capital city of Riyadh, touching down at King Khalid International Airport at 3:30pm. Crew handed out scarves emblazoned with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers boarding the aircraft.pic.twitter.com/U36yYpxE8T

Etihad said it was using the only Saudi A380 pilot in the world, Wesam Sameer Al Najjar, to fly its Year of Zayed plane to Jeddah with the UAE’s Captain Ahmed Almalood.

In the UAE, children at some schools dressed in green and sang the anthems of both countries, carrying both of their flags. In the evening, there was a Saudi National Day celebration at La Mer beachfront in Dubai that featured a supercar parade, traditional Saudi dancers and, of course, fireworks.