Elections in Saudi Arabia

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Elections in Saudi Arabia have been historically rare. Municipal elections were held in 2005 and were planned for 2009. After two years' delay, they were held in 2011.[1][2] In September 2011, King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and stand in the 2015 municipal elections.[3]

History of elections in Saudi Arabia[edit]

The first municipal elections in Saudi Arabia took place in the mid-20s in the Hijaz cities of Mecca, Medina, Jeddah, Yanbu and Taif, as King Abdulaziz ibn Saud established local governments to replace Ottoman and Hashemite rule. Elections for other municipalities were held between 1954 and 1962 during the reign of King Saud, an experiment that ended under the centralization of King Faisal.[4]

In 2005, elections for half the municipal councillors were held, with men voting for male candidates. In February 2009 it was announced that municipal elections scheduled for 2009 would be postponed indefinitely "for evaluation".[5] A government spokesperson said that they were postponed to consider suffrage for women in the next elections.[6] The municipal elections were eventually scheduled for and took place in 2011, but universal suffrage was delayed until the scheduled 2015 vote.

Saudi Arabia's Consultative Assembly (Majlis ash-Shura), with 150 appointed members, can propose laws but the proposals do not have the status of primary legislation. No political parties are allowed in Saudi Arabia.

See also[edit]