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Old 10-05-2006, 10:27 AM
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Default Saudi tribesmen hold first-ever election



Saudi tribesmen hold first-ever election




Riyadh: Election fever is not only the prerogative of Saudi city dwellers tribes in remote areas have also been hit.

Nearly 5,000 members of the Zahran tribe in Al Baha, one of the leading tribes in the kingdom, enthusiastically cast their ballots to elect their chief. It was the first-ever election to choose a tribal chief in the predominantly Saudi tribal society.

Saudi Arabia held elections for municipal councils two years ago as part of its democratic reforms. Speaking to Gulf News, Prince Mohammad Bin Saud Bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Al Baha, said: "It is fabulous that even tribal people have joined in the new stream by choosing their chieftain in a democratic way."

Rivalry

Mohammad Bin Yahya Al Zahrani won the election, defeating his lone rival by a big margin.

"It was a Herculean task for the committee to complete the election process as it had to hold three rounds of polling. Reminiscent of tribal rivalry, the tribesmen were not ready to accept the verdict in the first instance," the governor said.

He said the winner's name will be officially declared only after getting approval from the highest authorities.

By Mariam Al Hakeem, Correspondent
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