[LMB] OT: Saudi Arabia more democratic than Barrayar

Pat Mathews mathews55 at msn.com
Sun Sep 25 18:15:57 BST 2011

Question for the author or for discussion -

How long has Barrayar been anything you could call a nation, rather than a collection of 60 petty principalities?


> Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2011 09:20:36 -0700
> From: phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
> To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
> Subject: [LMB] OT: Saudi Arabia more democratic than Barrayar
> http://www.smh.com.au/world/saudi-king-gives-women-right-to-vote-20110925-1krzf.html
> "Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has announced he is giving women the right
> to vote and run in municipal elections, the only public polls in the
> ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom.
> He also announced on Sunday that women would have the right to join the
> all-appointed Shura (consultative) Council, in an address opening a new
> term of the council."
> "More than 5000 men will compete in Thursday's municipal elections, only
> the second in Saudi Arabia's history, to fill half the seats in the
> kingdom's 285 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the
> government.
> The first elections were held in 2005, but the government extended the
> existing councils' term for two more years."
> Relatedly:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shura#Shura_and_contemporary_Muslim-majority_states
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consultative_Assembly_of_Saudi_Arabia
> "Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". Quran and the Prophet
> encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who
> will be affected by that decision."
> To be rigorous, I don't think we know what happens at Barrayaran
> municipal levels, and it might vary from County to County anyway.  Also,
> Barrayaran women can drive and go outside on their own, so plus for
> them.
> OTOH, this is one version of what reform in a monarchy looks like.
> Create an appointed formally powerless consultative body; have low-level
> elections; have elections to the powerless consultative body; yield
> powers to the consultative body...  Pretty common path, with various
> permutations. (Cf. again all those Estates-General and Parliament
> variants.)
> -xx- Damien X-) 
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