Municipal elections after Ramadan

Updated 30 April 2015

Municipal elections after Ramadan

The Kingdom’s third municipal council elections that involve women as candidates and voters for the first time would take place in the month of Dhul Qada, a leading official said recently.
Abdulrahman Al-Dahmash, chairman of the General Committee for the Election of Municipal Council Members, made the announcement recently, according to a report in a local publication.
The month of Dhul Qada runs from Aug. 16 to Sept. 13, and comes after Ramadan.
Al-Dahmash said this election would see several changes, the most important being the participation of women for the first time. Women candidates would be able to nominate themselves.
Special provision would be made for women to participate in compliance with Islamic law. Local committees, with women making up 20 percent of their members, have been set up in all regions to organize the elections, he said.
Al-Dahmash was speaking for the minister of municipal and rural affairs at a seminar on councils organized by the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh.
He said it is hoped the elections would bring about a new phase in the development of municipalities into the future, and that it was in line with a “growing culture” of voting in Saudi society.
He said the changes to this year’s elections would see two-thirds of every council made up of elected members, compared to half previously. In addition, the voting age has been reduced from 21 to 18 to allow for more youth participation.
Al-Dahmash said the councils would have greater powers to monitor the performance of municipalities, including oversight over budgets, operational matters and investment and development projects.
The Leadership Development Center at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh organized the seminar to discuss challenges facing municipalities around the country. This includes delivering top class public services.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 42 min 38 sec ago

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.