Saudi citizens started to cast their first ballots in history when Riyadh region went to the polls in the first of a landmark municipal elections.
Thursday’s polls in Riyadh and surrounding areas are the first of three rounds that will eventually see elected representatives take up half the seats on 178 municipal councils across Saudi Arabia.
The remaining seats will be filled by government appointees. The rest of the kingdom will vote in March and April.
Some 148,000 male voters are to elect half the 38 councils in the Riyadh region, Arab news reported.
A total of 1,818 candidates are running in the first round, 646 of whom are competing for just seven seats on the capital’s council. A total of 104 seats are up for grabs in the ballot.
Women are excluded from the elections, either as voters or candidates. But the mayor of Riyadh and chairman of the local committee for elections, Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Ayyaf, said he would recommend to higher authorities that they be included in the next round, four years from now.