JEDDAH /MADINAH, 25 March 2005 — As against popular expectations, prominent personalities were conspicuously absent from the list of candidates as registration to contest the forthcoming municipal elections in the Western Region closed yesterday.
“A lot of people thought they would find prominent names on the list, but going by what we saw so far it is nowhere near what we had expected,” said an election committee official who did not want to be named.
“I have seen many prominent figures tear off the forms when they knew who their opponents were,” added the official.
At the closing of registration last night there were 523 aspirants from seven constituencies for municipal membership.
A member of the election committee announced that 50 candidates had registered their names in the first constituency which covers Thual, Thahban, Brainam and Ajwad. At the second constituency, which covers Basateen, Al-Mohamadiya, Al-Zahra, Al-Salama, Al-Khaldiyah and Al-Rawdah, 122 candidates had registered.
The third constituency, covering Al-Nuzha, Al-Marwa, Al-Safa, Al-Rabwah and Al-Faisaliyah, witnessed 119 registrations, while the fourth constituency covering Al-Aziziyah, Al-Mushrifah, Al-Rihab, Bani Malek, Al-Hamra and Al-Sharafiyah districts reported 85 candidates. But in the fifth constituency, only 27 candidates had registered their names. The area covers Al-Kandarah, Al-Suhaifa, and Al-Hindaweeyah.
Sixty-nine candidates registered in the sixth constituency that covers Al-Thagr, Al-Jameeah, Al-Rawabi, Abrug Al-Righama, and Al-Muntazahat districts.
The seventh constituency saw 51 candidate registering in their pursuit to serve Al-Nuzlah, Al-Sharafiyah, Al-Gurayat, Ghulail, Madain Fahad and Prince Fawaz districts.
Registration centers in Madinah closed after 781 candidates had registered, of whom 391 were from Madinah and the rest from outside Madinah.
There was a last-minute rush of candidates to beat the registration deadline. Madinah’s highest number of 97 candidates came from Al-Awali district, followed by 86 from Goba district and 66 from Al-Oyoon district.
Yanbu municipal area registered the highest number of candidates outside Madinah, reporting 70 candidates, followed by 57 in Khaybar municipality and 56 in Al-Ola.
In Makkah, registration centers closed with candidates numbering 386. The third constituency in Makkah, which includes the neighborhoods of Al-Andalus, Al-Shohada, Al-Hojoon, Al-Zahir, Al-Salama, Al-Hamra and Um Al-Jood, recorded the highest number of candidates registered at 74, followed by the fourth constituency including, Al-Reseefa, Al-Kakeeya, Kuday, Al-Takwa and Al-Hijra, with 67 candidates. The fifth constituency covering Al-Shasha, Al-Rawda, Al-Aziziya, Al-Awali, Al-Naseem and Al-Hussieniya came last with 65 registered candidates.
Meanwhile, Osama Abalkhail, a member of the local election supervision committee, told Al-Watan newspaper that the preliminary list of candidates would be released on Sunday.After the release of the first list, it will be reviewed before releasing the final list of candidates contesting the April 21 elections.
He added that the files of candidates would be presented to a special screening committee that will eliminate the names of ineligible candidates and also make sure that candidates are not linked to ongoing municipal work.
Saad Al-Matrafi & Yousif Muhammad, Arab News