Saudi men have voted in a municipal election in the capital Riyadh.
It's the first stage in an unprecedented nationwide vote as the absolute monarchy inches toward reform.
The polls, from which women are excluded, are part of a cautious programme of reform introduced by de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah.
He's faced calls for change at home and from Saudi Arabia's main ally, the United States, after the September 11 attacks which were carried out by mainly Saudi hijackers.
Voters are deciding just half the members of municipal councils, whose powers are likely to be limited. The government will appoint the other council members.
More than 1,800 candidates competed in Riyadh and some have spent large sums on campaigns.
They range from businessmen, tribal figures and security chiefs to academics and officials.
ABC Radio Australia
If you are a royal Saudi monarch who stumbled upon my blog (sorry to disappoint - the "spade" is not oil rigging tool nor is it a weapon), here's a tip - if you want to appear progressive, don't run elections where half your population are banned from voting!