Saudi ballot box
A Saudi official sits near a ballot box at a polling station at Prince Salman center in Riyadh September 29, 2011. Saudi Arabian men voted in only the second nationwide election in the country's history on Thursday, but nearly empty polling booths in the second city, Jeddah, showed few were enthusiastic about voting for municipal councils with little power. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

Several major women in Saudi Arabia will prefer not running as candidates in the forthcoming municipal elections to make way for fresh faces. The December election is going to be a landmark in Saudi history as this will be the first time women will vote and run as candidates.

However, a number of prominent Saudi women like Madawi Hassoun, the head of the beauty centers committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will not run as candidates.

“I will not contest the elections although I was successful in the JCCI vote,” Arab News quoted Hassoun as saying. “I want to give new faces a chance to contribute to the region’s development.”

Hassoun said that she was too busy in her present work commitments to take part in the election. “I am optimistic that young educated faces will emerge,” she said adding that "they will continue what we’ve started and will achieve a great deal.”

Hassoun also said that women would be outstanding in performing their tasks as they would have fresh ideas.

JCCI trade committee Chairperson Nashwa Taher also said that she did not have time run as a candidate. According to her, people should serve the community with “complete honesty, transparency and clarity.”

Wafa Halawani, a former assistance secretary of neighborhood centers in Makkah, has a different reason for not running as a candidate. According to her, there was “a lack of clarity on the nomination and voting mechanisms.”

Official voter registration for the upcoming municipal elections started Aug. 22 while the candidate registration started Aug. 30. Al Arabiya reported only 16 female voters had registered themselves so far.