Saudi Gazette – So far 120 out of 1,019 women candidates running for municipal councils have withdrawn their candidatures, Al-Hayat Arabic daily quoted National Committee for the Municipal Elections spokesman Jidai Al-Qahtani as saying on Tuesday.

He said the total number of candidates was 7,380, but 384 candidates have withdrawn.

Fifty of the candidates who withdrew were from Riyadh. The last day for withdrawal in Riyadh was on Thursday. All remaining candidates must go through to the fourth phase and campaign for their election.

“The final list of candidates will be announced next Sunday. Not all nominated candidates will qualify for the final list. The committee will check the profiles and records of the candidates to ensure that none of them have violated any rules and regulations,” said Al-Qahtani.

Candidates have the right to withdraw from the elections any time without an excuse or any prior notice.

“Candidates have absolute freedom to withdraw whenever they want. We consider it a personal decision and we don’t care about the reasons behind it. All they have to do is fill in a withdrawal form to notify us of their decision,” said Al-Qahtani.

He said members of election committees are not allowed to visit voting centers.

“We aim to have a fair and just election. Members of election committees are not allowed in voting centers and they are not allowed to show the pictures of certain candidates or hang flyers,” said Al-Qahtani.

Employees of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs are not allowed to use their authority to help or obstruct any of the candidates’ campaigns. The final list of elected candidates will be drafted on Dec. 12 and announced on Dec. 13, said Al-Qahtani.

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