“This experiment is not enough, though, because the citizens only elect half of the members of their local parliament. Furthermore, these bodies are not vested with important powers; they are more like advisory councils without any authority. Their benefit consists for the government and the regime in demonstrating to the West that certain democratic reforms are being carried out in Saudi Arabia, too……………Yes, that is exactly what is happening. They already did so during the first elections of this kind in 2005, and ended up profiting from this tactic. Back then they tried to demonstrate to those forces in the West that are exerting increasing pressure: We are organising a political ballot here and we have begun to lead the country away from dictatorship and toward political participation. But the Saudi people’s thirst for more far-reaching participation, for enforceable political rights and elected representative bodies with genuine powers, can likewise no longer be overlooked. The current local elections may have primarily a decorative character……….…”
He says that only half the municipal councils are elected and they are only ‘advisory’. He is the director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (none of which exists) in Saudi Arabia (CDHR).
Like I said, when the princes all have to run for elections in order to become rulers of the various Provinces, when they have to be elected as “princes” then those will be real elections. Not for some toothless, non-binding advisory municipal cheerleading councils (okay, they probably don’t chant “rah rah rah, push ’em back, way back” but it is the same).