Local elections in Saudi Arabia 2015

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The 2015 local elections in Saudi Arabia took place across Saudi Arabia on December 12, 2015 . It was the first elections in the country's history that women were allowed to participate - both as voters and as candidates. 20 women received mandates.


7000 candidates, including 979 women, had applied for the 2,100 seats in local parliaments.

The election program of many candidates included calls for better streets, cleaner cities, more crèche places and sports and cultural centers for the youth. According to the information, the mandate holders come from ten regions of the country, including the largest cities Riyadh and Jeddah and a village near Mecca . In Jeddah, women from three generations from the same family ran for candidates. One of them, Sahar Hassan Nasief, said the experience marks the beginning of greater rights for women in the country where they are subject to laws that give men the last word on important areas of their lives such as marriage, higher education or travel, and where they are not allowed to sit behind the wheel of a car.

voter turnout

The turnout was 47% (44% of the 1,350,000 registered men and 82% of the 130,000 registered women). 106,000 of the women registered have cast a ballot.


Twenty women were elected. Two women received mandates in Jeddah. Four candidates prevailed in the conservative capital Riyadh. Two women were elected in the Eastern Province, where the majority of Shiites live. The Mayor of Mecca, Osama al-Bar, reported that the candidate Salma al-Oteibi had won a mandate in the Madrakah region . Another candidate, Hinauf al-Hasmi, was elected in Al-Jauf in the north of the country, the Saudi Arabian news agency reported.

Significance of local elections in Saudi Arabia

Citizens can only determine their own representation at local level. The councils have no legislative power. But you can advise authorities and help control the local budgets. In addition to the seats to be filled by election, 1,050 mandates are awarded with the consent of King Salman . This means that the elected representatives are in the majority.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Historic election victory for Saudi Arabia's women. Handelsblatt, December 14, 2015, accessed on September 5, 2019 .
  2. 20 women win seats in the election in Saudi Arabia. Die Welt , December 14, 2015, accessed on December 16, 2015 .