Vote turnout 82%, Saudi official says

Participation during Saudi Arabia's first round of municipal elections was 82% in the areas surrounding the capital, an election official said, providing no figures for Riyadh itself.

    More than 140,000 men voted in the first phase of local elections

    "The turnout was 82% in all the Riyadh region excluding Riyadh city. Some towns and villages exceeded 92%," said Sultan al-Bazai, a member of the General Commission of Municipal Elections, on Friday.


    He did not say why figures for the capital were not published.


    Concerning the capital, Al-Iqtissadiyah newspaper on Friday quoted the mayor, Prince Abd al-Aziz bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin, as saying turnout was strongest in the second district of al-Nassim, reaching 76%.




    Turnout in the first round of elections on Thursday was lowest in the fourth (Olaya-Sulaimaniyah) of seven districts that comprise the capital, at only 58%, the mayor said.


    "Some towns and villages exceeded 92%"

    Sultan al-Bazai,
    member, General Commission of Municipal Elections

    Just over 140,000 men out of 470,000 eligible voters registered to cast their ballots in the first of three-phase polls, in which half the members of 178 municipal councils will be elected across the ultra-conservative kingdom.


    Women are barred from taking part in the elections, which will take place on 3 March in the Eastern Province and the southwest, and on 21 April in the western regions of Makka and Madina, as well as the northern regions.



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