Campaigning for historic Saudi poll begins today

Updated 30 November 2015
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Campaigning for historic Saudi poll begins today

RIYADH: Election fever is set to grip the Kingdom with campaigning for the historic Dec. 12 municipal elections beginning on Sunday, even as poll officials are ready to keep an eye on candidates who may violate their code of conduct.
The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has launched an election site, intekhab.gov.sa, which highlights all details of the electoral process.
Hamad Al-Omar, executive committee member and media head for the elections, said a toll-free telephone line has also been set up to help voters, besides a voting system application which works on smart devices.
The ministry has taken these measures to ensure free, effective and convenient campaigning, he said, adding that the executive committee has collaborated with telecommunication companies in reaching out to voters. “It’s important for voters to choose the right candidate,” he said.
“The elected representatives will be expected to improve municipal services and participate in the development of neighborhoods, villages and cities.”
The registration of voters started in Makkah and Madinah on Aug. 16 and on Aug. 22 in other parts of the Kingdom, and the process continued for 21 days.
Women are taking part in the elections, as voters and candidates, for the first time in the history of the Kingdom.
The General Election Committee has set conditions for campaigning such as curbs on publishing candidates’ photos in public promotional material. 
Judea Al-Qahtani, spokesman for the committee, responded to a question on Twitter about the issue of proportional representation between men and women in the municipal councils, by saying: “The ballot boxes will determine this.”
Al-Qahtani called for compliance with Article 27 of the campaign regulations.
He said candidates should refrain from committing acts of sedition, sectarian, tribal or regional conflicts.
They have also been warned against disturbing public peace and offending voters or rivals and using mosques or public facilities for campaigning.
Candidates are not allowed to take the support of any foreign entity for campaigning purpose, he said.
The use of the official state emblem, flag and religious, historical or tribal icons is also banned during the campaign.
The candidates also have been warned against conducting campaigns via public and private TV channels inside and outside the Kingdom, he said.
Announcing support for another candidate, whether directly or indirectly, is also banned, Al-Qahtani said.
The use of phrases or photos that go against religion or morals is also an offense, he said, adding that any violations in this regard will be reported to the election committee for further action. 


Festivities kick-off as Saudis celebrate national day across kingdom

Updated 20 September 2019

Festivities kick-off as Saudis celebrate national day across kingdom

DUBAI: The first activities of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) kicked off on Thursday evening in celebration of the kingdom’s National Day on September 23 in the province of Jeddah.

The festivities were held on Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Street and Corniche Road with performances of national songs and fashion shows representing Saudi cultural heritage, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The events also included workshops for children to participate in the celebration of the occasion. The activities ended with a firework show.

In Jizan, families enjoyed heritage shows hosted by the GAE at the corniche as well as Saudi art and photography.

Storytellers entertained children with stories of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud and the history of the unification of the states of Saudi Arabia.

Artwork of Saudi landmarks were exhibited, celebrating modern and historical architecture in the kingdom.

Meanwhile, schools across the kingdom organized activities to mark the celebrations for children, highlighting the role of the founding father of Saudi Arabia in “reuniting and unifying the country.” Schools have also partnered with government bodies to educate students on the role and status of Saudi Arabia on the world stage.

Across the kingdom, preparations to celebrate National Day have been completed, with street decorations and a number of events planned.

Celebrations will be held over five days to commemorate Saudi National Day.