Saudi Arabia's first election open to women

    Saudi Arabia's first election open to women

    Dec 13, Riyadh: Women in Saudi Arabia cast their votes in the first ever elections open to both female votes and candidates in the country’s history, a step towards easing restrictions on women.

    Women were also standing as candidates, another first, despite the conservative kingdom being the only nation where women are not allowed to drive, news reports said.

    A total of 978 women have registered as candidates, alongside 5,938 men.

    Saturday's municipal poll, which was hailed by many as historic, saw a turnout of about 25 percent. The first local election was in 2005, and the second in 2011. Women were excluded from both.

    The fact that this was only the third time that Saudi citizens voted in an election meant that there was still little experience with the electoral process, news reports said.

    The official results in the latest election were expected to be announced on Monday. Election workers are counting votes in the country's historic elections.

    More than 900 women ran for seats. They were up against nearly 6,000 men competing for places on 284 councils whose powers are restricted to local affairs including responsibility for streets, public gardens and rubbish collection.

    There are 2,100 council seats available in Saturday's vote. An additional 1,050 seats are appointed with approval from the king.

    The Oslo Times


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