Thursday, February 10, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saudi men vote in historic poll

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saudi men vote in historic poll:

A Saudi man casts his vote in the first municipal election in Riyadh
Some voters spoke of their delight at taking part in elections
Voters have gone to the polls in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide municipal election, as the kingdom's government aims to bring in elements of democracy.

The first phase was held in and around the capital, Riyadh, with later rounds to be staged elsewhere over two months.

Overall, 1,800 candidates are vying for 592 seats in 178 councils. In Riyadh, 650 are fighting for just seven seats.

Women are excluded from the polls and only some 148,000 of 400,000 eligible men have registered to vote in Riyadh.

Prince Mansour bin Miteb, head of the election commission, said voter turnout had been 'very reasonable', speaking shortly before the polls closed.

He told the Associated Press news agency there had been no reports of irregularities."

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