Saudi king grants women the right to vote in local polls

Sep 26, 2011 12:00 AM

Women in Saudi Arabia have been granted the right to vote in the kingdom's next round of municipal elections four years from now.
The nationwide rule that bans women from driving, however, remains in force.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has granted women the right to vote in municipal elections and serve in the Shura Council, a national consultative body, in a historic step for the ultra-conservative Sunni Islamic kingdom.
"In Islamic history, women have had roles that cannot be marginalized," King Abdullah told the Shura Council while announcing his decision.

Some 5,300 men will compete in municipal polls for the second time in Saudi Arabia's history. Women will first be eligible to compete four years from now as the nomination process for the contest has already closed.
Women will also have to wait another term before serving in the Shura Council. The body, which cannot pass or enforce laws, has 150 members appointed by the Saudi king.

"We have been waiting for these decisions for such a long time," Saudi rights activist Waleed Abul Khair told. "We wish that women's right to drive was among those decisions."
Saudi women are currently required either to hire male chauffeurs or rely on male family members for transportation and are not allowed to travel unaccompanied if they are under 45 years old.

Manal al-Sharif, the 32-year-old icon of a movement in which Saudi women protested the ban by getting behind the steering wheel, called King Abdullah's decision on women's voting rights a "historic and courageous one".
"The king is a reformist," she told.

The United States -- a close ally of Saudi Arabia -- praised the reforms, which come amid demands for greater freedom across the Middle East among the protest movements of the so-called "Arab Spring".
"The announcements made today represent an important step forward in expanding the rights of women in Saudi Arabia," White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said. "We support King Abdullah and the people of Saudi Arabia as they undertake these reforms and others."

Market Research

The International Affairs Institute (IAI) and OCP Policy Center recently launched a new book: The Future of Natural Gas. Markets and Geopolitics.


The book is an in-depth analysis of some of the fastest moving gas markets, attempting to define the trends of a resource that will have a decisive role in shaping the global economy and modelling the geopolitical dynamics in the next decades.

Some of the top scholars in the energy sector have contributed to this volume such as Gonzalo Escribano, Director Energy and Climate Change Programme, Elcano Royal Institute, Madrid, Coby van der Linde, Director Clingendael International Energy Programme, The Hague and Houda Ben Jannet Allal, General Director Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie (OME), Paris.

For only €32.50 you have your own copy of The Future of Natural Gas. Markets and Geopolitics. Click here to order now!


Upcoming Conferences
« May 2019 »
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31

Register to announce Your Event

View All Events