Saudi activists call for election boycott
Dubai: More than 60 Saudi intellectuals and activists called for a boycott of their country`s municipal election in September, in an online petition posted on Sunday.
"We announce a boycott of the elections and urge all those who have the right to participate as candidates or voters to boycott them," said the 67 signatories, including writers and journalists.
The group said they will boycott the poll because "municipal councils lack the authority to effectively carry out their role" and "half of their members are appointed”.
"Women are for the second time banned from participating, whether as voters or candidates ... meaning that half of society is excluded from participating," they said.
The municipal election in Saudi Arabia, the only form of public vote in the conservative kingdom, is to be held on September 22.
In May 2009, the government extended the term of municipal councils by two years. The kingdom`s first vote was held in 2005, when half the members of 178 municipal councils were elected while the rest were named by the government.
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