The boycott comes at time when the kingdom’s election commission announced the start of the election campaign with more than 1.2 million Saudi men registered to vote. Turnout is expected to be low however.
Voters can choose among more than 5,000 candidates, all men, since women are not only not allowed to vote (for now) but are also banned from running for office.
This year’s elections will be the second in the history of Saudi Arabia. The first (pictured) were held in 2005 and cover half of the seats in the country’s 285 municipal councils. The other half is appointed by the government.
The vote, the only semblance of popular participation in the country, comes at a time when most of the Arab world is shaken by a demand for democracy, something that has had little resonance in the kingdom.