خطوة السعودية الصغيرة على الطريق نحو الديمقراطية

قد تحتل أخبار انتخابات هذا الشهر في العراق، وانتخابات رئاسة السلطة الفلسطينية، كل عناوين الأخبار العالمية، ولكن هناك اقتراع آخر بعيد الأثر يجري الترتيب له الآن، ولو أنه يلقى قدراً أقل من التهليل: عملية التسجيل للانتخابات البلدية في المملكة العربية السعودية في منتصف شهر فبراير/شباط. وباعتبار السعودية مركزاً لبعض أشد القوى الإسلامية في أي مكان من العالم، فإن الآثار المترتبة على هذا المسعى من قِـبل الحكومة السعودية ـ إذا ما كتب له النجاح وأصبح بشيراً بقرب حدوث تغييرات أخرى مطلوبة ـ قد تكون أكثر عمقاً من الأثر الذي ستخلفه الانتخابات في العراق وفلسطين.

من المتوقع أن يتنافس 40,000 سعودي تقريباً على 1700 مقعد في 178 مجلساً بلدياً. والحماس واضح، والحملة جارية وتتسم بالحيوية والنشاط الشديدين. لن يشارك أفراد الأسرة المالكة السعودية في هذا السباق، حيث أنهم يتمتعون بالفعل بسلطة سياسية قصوى. ولكنهم مع شعورهم بحماس الجماهير فقد حرصوا على أن تلتقط أجهزة الإعلام المحلية والدولية صورهم وهم يسجلون أسماءهم للحصول على بطاقاتهم الانتخابية.

طبقاً للمعايير الغربية، وحتى المعايير في ديمقراطيات العالم الثالث الناشئة، فإن انتخابات المجالس البلدية في السعودية لا تمثل سوى حدث في غاية التواضع. ولكن إذا ما نظرنا إلى الأمر في السياق السعودي فإن هذه الانتخابات تشكل تقدماً مفاجئاً كبيراً.

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