Poll campaign takes off amid many restrictions
JEDDAH: The media campaigns of the municipal council candidates began in Jeddah on Sunday, but were a far cry from those of the first round of elections six years ago. The publicity will continue for 11 days until the day of voting on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Unlike the first municipal elections, there were no tents, posters or big signboards, as the candidates were prevented from doing so according to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Rural and Municipal Affairs. According to the instructions, candidates are prevented from using public or private radio and TV stations for their publicity. They are also not allowed to use mobile messages, mosques, government buildings, sport and cultural clubs, schools and other public utilities for publicity purposes.
The instructions also prevented the candidates from cooperating with each other in their campaigns, appealing to tribes, or giving high promises they would not be able to fulfill. “We are only allowed to visit the voters, organize debates and seminars, and use electronic sites,” a candidate said. He did not want his name published.
There are 344 candidates in Jeddah, of whom 120 will be competing for seven seats in the municipal council and 224 contesting the seats allotted to nearby towns and villages.
Spokesman of the elections committee in Jeddah Abdul Aziz Al-Nihari said there were 630 employees working in the election centers, with five stationed per center.