Saudi King Says Women Will Get to Vote
It’s a remarkable development. On the eve of upcoming elections, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has announced that women will be given a voice in Saudi politics – but not just yet.
This Thursday, Saudi Arabia is having municipal council elections. These elections do not happen often, and as in past elections, women will not be allowed to vote, but the king says that future elections will include women in the nomination process.
Where women’s rights are concerned, Saudi Arabia has a gender gap the size of the Persian Gulf. Women there are subject to restrictions from versions of Sharia Islamic law. Among other things, they are forbidden to drive automobiles, or even to be seen in public without a male guardian.
According to Reuters, the king says “Women will be able to run as candidates in the municipal election and will even have a right to vote.”
Again, this will not take effect until the next election, and that could be many years from now.
According to CNN, one Saudi women’s rights activist called it “great news”, and was hopeful that it would lead to more rights for women in the near future.