How much time do you need?

There’s a piece at Reuters called No votes for women in Saudi municipal elections:

Women in Saudi Arabia will not be allowed to vote in the long-delayed municipal elections to be held in September, the election commission said on Monday.


“There is nothing to stop the participation of the woman but this needs some preparations and we cannot make these preparations in all regions of the kingdom,” the commission said in a statement.

Voter registration opens on April 23 and the elections will be held on September 22, an official at the commission told Reuters.

There’s been an Internet campaign to get women the vote for months now. And I was reading this AP article from 2005:

Prince Mansour also could not say whether women would be allowed to take part in the next round of municipal elections in 2009, stressing that would be up to the committee planning those polls.

The electoral law has no provisions explicitly banning women, he said.

“It’s difficult, given the limited period of time we have, for ladies to participate in the elections,” the prince said at a news conference.

Well then.

There’s a lot more nuance to the whys and wherefores, obviously, so please click through to the articles.

11 comments for “How much time do you need?

  1. March 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Ugh. Tacit exclusion is almost worse in a way because it shows that this isn’t even an issue of urgency. It occurs to me that UN Women should have much to say about this — or should feel responsible to comment. They appointed Saudi Arabia to their new board back in November 2010, to much outcry. I guess SA was chosen over Iran for the seat…not sure what that means. We should all be waiting impatiently for Michelle Bachelet’s comment on this. If they are silent on this, many may throw their hands up.–saudi-arabia-s-spot-on-the-board-of-un-women-a-sad-joke

  2. March 30, 2011 at 9:07 am


  3. Shaun
    March 30, 2011 at 10:49 am


    *vacuums* o_o

  4. matlun
    March 30, 2011 at 11:53 am

    It should also be noted that the elected officials here have very little power, and these elections are basically just a sop to the people to avoid any kind of unrest (see Egypt, Libya, etc)

    I think that Saudi women have greater problems than not being allowed to vote in these elections, but “we need more time” is a very week excuse. These elections have already been delayed for two years (originally promised to be held in 2009).

  5. Kristen J.
    March 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    How much time do you have? Well we need that plus infinity…sorry…the administrative burdens are just too great.

  6. Sonia
    March 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Given the circumstances it is entirely likely that Saudi Arabia will go more conservative. Their king has just announced a bunch of measures and giveaways to pacify the subjects. Among them is additional funding for the clerics and vice police and internal security to keep things calmed down.

  7. March 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Eh. Thanks Shaun. =-= For the past few hours after reading this, I heavily fantasized about storming to Saudi Arabia and raising hell.

  8. Tony
    March 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    The irony is that the only challenge to Saudi authorities was from even more conservative extremists during the storming of the Grand Mosque in 1979. The monarchy responded to that by cracking down on “modernist” elements.

  9. Liz
    March 31, 2011 at 3:52 am

    To be fair, separate identity cards for Saudi women are a relatively new thing, and not all Saudi women have their own personal ID document. They can still be carried on their father/husband’s “family card.”

    Think about voter identification issues when you must provide completely gender segregated facilities with all-female staff to identify women voters.

    If women are not recognized as human, legal entities and require the permission of a wali amr (guardian) to open a business, attend school, or leave the country, how can they be recognized as subjects of the kingdom with voting rights?

    I just want to point out that it is not just the simple government decision to “let” women vote or not- it’s an entire social, legal, and moral ediface that still has not fully come to terms with accepting women as full subjects and as independent human beings.

  10. PrettyAmiable
    March 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this. I understand that there is nuance, as you say, but I can’t help but think that if this were important to anyone who already had the vote there, it wouldn’t take so long. There are precedents and thus guidelines about how to give large segments of the population the vote when they previously didn’t have it.

    I’m still mulling this over, but it makes me cranky-pants.

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