Los pininos democráticos de Arabia Saudita

Las elecciones que se celebrarán este mes en Iraq y aquellas en las que se elegirá al presidente de la Autoridad Palestina pueden estar acaparando los titulares de los periódicos de todo el mundo, pero también se está desarrollando un proceso de gran importancia aunque de menos notoriedad: el registro para las elecciones municipales en Arabia Saudita a mediados de febrero. Puesto que es el corazón de algunas de las fuerzas islámicas más poderosas en el mundo, este esfuerzo saudita --si tiene éxito y resulta ser presagio de otros cambios que son necesarios-- puede tener un impacto aun más profundo que las elecciones en Iraq y Palestina.

Se espera que alrededor de 40,000 sauditas compitan por las 1,700 curules de los 178 consejos municipales. El entusiasmo es evidente y las campañas ya se están llevando a cabo de manera muy animada. Los miembros de la familia real saudita no se postularán debido a que ya gozan del máximo poder político. Pero al sentir el entusiasmo popular, se aseguraron de que los medios locales e internacionales los fotografiaran cuando se registraron para obtener su documento de identificación electoral.

Para los estándares occidentales e incluso de las democracias emergentes del Tercer Mundo, las elecciones municipales sauditas son algo muy modesto. Pero en el contexto de ese país son un verdadero logro.

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