Saeed Alghamdy - BA PR and Advertising (KAU, Saudi Arabia), MA Public Communication (AU, USA)
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75688
Location: Room 1.24, Bute Building
Public Communications Campaigns in Saudi Arabia 2005 Municipal Election Campaign
This study is concerned with the first public elections in the history of Saudi Arabia that was organized in 2005 by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. (Your voice won't be heard if you don't register... Participate in the municipal elections).
According to the General Committee of the Elections, the Saudi municipal elections were conducted in three stages from February 10th to April 21st 2005 in thirteen regions around the country. A total of 793,432 citizens registered in these elections from a total Saudi population of 16,529,302 (according to the 2004 census). 607 members were elected among the 9330 that represent half of the members of 187 municipal councils in a process where women, military men and those under 21 were excluded from registration or voting. This result revealed that only 15% of the Saudi people participated in those elections among 4.5 million Saudis eligible to vote.
This study will explore the ways the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs planned, designed, implemented and evaluated the municipal elections campaign. In addition, the study will try to reveal how the Saudi people perceive such political reform in relation to the concept and practices of Western democracy. In other words, the study will explain how the government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is an absolute monarchy, organized such an event and persuaded the democratic nations around the world that the country had a political reform, like any other “democratic nation” around the globe.
- The municipal election media campaign to question electoral participation which provided too little information, to a modest audience, is a significant factor in citizen political apathy to the municipal election.
- The limited or unclear role of the municipal councils in the society led to the people’s lack of concern towards elections.
- Lack of the political understanding among Saudis concerning democracy and the election as one of its tools led to their apathy towards elections.
- The strength of Islamic belief among Saudis, which collides with the idea of democracy and specifically the process of democratic election, led to citizen lack of interest in the municipal election.
To accomplish the goals of this research project, a multi-method approach will be used in this study. The researcher will be using in-depth interviews as a qualitative method and a questionnaire and content analysis of the materials of the campaign as quantitative methods to collect the primary data necessary for this research. Using this approach is going to answer the main research questions which are:
- What were the principal characteristics of the municipal election process in terms of its objectives, strategies and tactics?
- What were the planners’, implementers’ and journalists’ perceptions of the objectives, strategies, messages, audiences and the outcome of the election campaign?
- What were the public main perceptions of the objectives, regulations, procedures and the outcome of the municipal elections?
- What were the candidates’ perceptions of the objectives, regulations, procedures and the outcome of the municipal elections?
- What were the candidates’ perceptions of democracy in general and, more specifically, the political reforms in Saudi Arabia?
- What were the public main perceptions of democracy and the Saudi political reforms in this concept?
- What were the objectives, strategies, tactics, messages and audiences of the election media campaign?
- What was the public evaluation of the municipal election media campaign?
Supervisors: Dr. Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Professor Bob Franklin and Mr. Mike Hogan.
Public Communications, political communications, public relations and media campaigns.
- MA Public Communication, School of Communication, American University, Washington D.C., USA.
- BA Public Relations and Advertising, School of Arts, King Abdualaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
- October 2004 to December 2005 Lecturer, Mass Communication Dept. College of Arts, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- August 2004 Public Relations Consultant, King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
- 2001 to 2004 Director of Public Relations Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh Saudi Arabia.