Ban on direct campaigning irks women candidates

Updated 13 October 2015

Ban on direct campaigning irks women candidates

JEDDAH: Female candidates in the municipal elections and leaders in the women’s community described the Supreme Electoral Committee’s decision banning female candidates from addressing male voters directly and requiring them to appoint proxies or specialized companies to manage their advertising campaigns as clear and unacceptable discrimination.
They demanded reconsideration of the decision so as to ensure equality of opportunities in electoral competition, noting that the decision has resulted in great disappointment among female candidates who see the elections as a real opportunity to participate in decision making.
Many female candidates questioned the decision, which imposes a fine of SR10,000 against candidates for any violation and requires them to cover any contractual costs with specialized companies to oversee their electoral campaign.
Candidate Nassema Al-Sada said the fine contradicts campaign regulations, which stipulates candidates have a right to meet with voters, and asks how there can be any justice in the elections if the female candidate, like the male candidate, cannot directly meet with voters to discuss her campaign platform.
She said the main point of the involvement of women in the elections is their integration in the community, not isolation.
According to Mona Al-Hussein, the decision is a blow to the experience of women’s participation in the elections, and called for its reconsideration.
Zahra Abdulkareem, an employee, stressed the need to to take advantage of experiences of female Shoura council members and female doctors and officials asking, “who will cover the salary of the agent for each candidate?”
Nawal Al-Ramadan, a nurse, agreed, noting noting that the ban is an obstacle to women’s involvement in the municipal elections and must be overturned.

WATCH: Car ploughs through Grand Mosque courtyard in Makkah, crashes into door

Updated 13 min 44 sec ago

WATCH: Car ploughs through Grand Mosque courtyard in Makkah, crashes into door

  • Police say driver in ‘abnormal’ condition

RIYADH: Video footage captured the dramatic moment a car was driven at high speed across the courtyard of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, before finally smashing into one of the doors on Friday night.

Saudi security authorities then arrested a man who was pulled from the car, state news agency SPA reported.

Reports suggest the car was driven at high speed on a road surrounding the southern square the Grand Mosque, also known Masjid Haramain, SPA added, quoting the official spokesman of Makkah region, Sultan Al-Dossari.

He said the incident happened at around 10:30 p.m..

No one was hurt in the incodent the report added.

Investigators said the driver of the car was a Saudi citizen who was “in an abnormal condition.” 

The offender is being referred to the Public Prosecution office, it said.