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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

They could not drive themselves to the polls, and the women who were running were not allowed to campaign by speaking directly to men, yet voting and running in their first election ever, Saudi women scored wins.  Women candidates circumvented strict rules preventing all-in campaign rallies by tapping social media to get their platforms noticed.  Women voters, not permitted to drive, took advantage of Uber to get to the polls.

As Sir Paul says, it’s getting better.

 

Middle East

In Milestone, Saudis Elect First Women to Councils

By BEN HUBBARD DEC. 13, 2015

Saudi women cast their votes at a polling station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in municipal elections on Saturday. Credit Ahmed Yosri/European Pressphoto Agency

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In elections that allowed Saudi women to vote and run for office for the first time, more than a dozen women won seats on local councils in different parts of the country, officials said on Sunday.While the move was hailed by some as a new step into the public sphere by women in this religious and conservative monarchy, the local councils have limited powers and the new female members will make up less than 1 percent of the elected council members nationwide.

The participation of women in the vote was a milestone in a very gradual social shift for a country that deprives women of many basic rights, barring them from driving and from making many important decisions without the approval of a male relative.

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At least 20 Saudi women emerged victorious in Saturday’s historic local elections in which females in this religiously conservative kingdom were allowed to cast votes and run for office for the first time.

With seats on 284 municipal councils up for grabs and about 1,000 women and 7,000 men competing, females won only a small fraction of the races, according to early results. Still, local and international rights activists praised the tally as a victory for women in a fundamentalist Muslim country where they face many restrictions.

Voter turnout among women was exceptionally high.

Nearly 81% of 130,000 female registered voters cast ballots, said General Election Commission spokesman Hamad Al-Omar.

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First Female Politicians Elected In Saudi Arabia

Women candidates won in both big cities and small villages.

12/13/2015 10:04 am ET |

FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi voters elected 20 women for local government seats, according to results released to The Associated Press on Sunday, a day after women voted and ran in elections for the first time in the country’s history.

The women who won hail from vastly different parts of the country, ranging from Saudi Arabia’s largest city to a small village near Islam’s holiest site.

The 20 female candidates represent just one percent of the roughly 2,100 municipal council seats up for grabs, but even limited gains are seen as a step forward for women who had previously been completely shut out of elections. Women are still not allowed to drive and are governed by guardianship laws that give men final say over aspects of their lives like marriage, travel and higher education.

 

AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images
Lama Suleiman, pictured with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010, won a seat in Saudi Arabia’s second largest city.

Though there are no quotas for female council members, an additional 1,050 seats are appointed with approval by the king who could use his powers to ensure more women are represented.

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Women’s Suffrage

When and Where >>>>

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