Saudi Arabia women given right to vote, seek office

King Abdullah extends franchise in “historic and courageous” decision


Women in Saudi Arabia have been given the right to vote, run for office and be appointed to governing councils by King Abdullah, the country’s 86-year-old ruler. Abdullah made the announcement on Sunday in a speech that was broadcast live on state television. Manal al-Sharif, the 32-year-old figurehead of a contingent of women who have openly defied Saudi Arabia’s much-discussed driving-ban for women, welcomed the move to extend the franchise. She called Abdullah a “reformer” and said the decision was “historic and courageous.” Men in Saudi Arabia, an ultra-conservative Muslim country existing under a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, were first able to vote in municipal elections in 2005. Women will join them on their second trip to the polls Thursday, but since the nomination process is already closed, and no women will be on the ballot. The winners of the election fill half the seats in the country’s 285 municipal councils. The rest are appointed.


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Saudi Arabia women given right to vote, seek office

  1. Has anyone asked whose permission women will need to vote?   Father? Brother? Uncle?

    • Well some women are driving so perhaps there are some men who are okay with women having rights.  The fact of the matter is that women won’t need anyone’s permission if they are able to get to the voting stations.  If they are locked in their houses on voting day, that is definitely problematic but we have women here too that are victims of domestic violence in their own homes.  The fact that the “state” is open to giving women some equality is a huge step forward.

      • They don’t need to be locked in their houses to be threatened by their families or the morality police if they dare to vote. Nor can equality be “given;” it can only be recognized in good faith, which this shows no signs of being. It’s a distraction, and the country will continue to be an oppressive religious kleptocracy for the average citizen.

      • You’re right it’s a big step forward, but please don’t bring Canadian spousal abuse into this.  Spousal abuse is not something approved by most of our citizens.

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