Religious candidates triumph in Saudi elections

3 May 2005

A young Saudi blogger, Ahmed, on his experience of the first (municipal) elections in Saudi Arabia in 30 years in Global Voices. He describes how campaign posters bore the only non-blurred pictures of human faces seen on Saudi streets (usually pictures of people are banned by religious decree). Only 7 could be elected from 646 candidates; women were not allowed to vote; and a group of hardline Islamic candidates (the "Golden List") dominated the results. Still Ahmed says: "I was proud to be a part of this historical event". Let's hope it marks the beginning of something better.

There seems to be a lot of disappointment going around about the Islamists winning so big, but what are you supposed to do when a democratic election elects non-democratic candidates? Geoff Mulgan in the FT this weekend reviews a few books that explore this question.

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