Votes counted after historic Saudi poll allowing women

Votes counted after historic Saudi poll allowing women

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Votes are being counted in Saudi Arabia’s municipal elections, in which women were allowed for the first time to cast their ballots.
Officials said about 130,000 women had registered to vote in Saturday’s poll, compared with 1.35 million of men.

Some enthusiastic Saudi women voters

Some enthusiastic Saudi women voters

Alfassi terms the election a historic moment

Women were also standing as candidates, another first, despite the conservative kingdom being the only nation where women are not allowed to drive.
A total of 978 women registered as candidates, alongside 5,938 men.
Female candidates had to speak behind a partition while campaigning or be represented by a man. Turnout was high, state media reported.
Elections themselves are a rare thing in the Saudi kingdom – Saturday was only the third time in history that Saudis went to the polls.
There were no elections in the 40 years between 1965 and 2005.
The decision to allow women to take part was taken by the late King Abdullah and is seen as a key part of his legacy.
In announcing the reforms, King Abdullah said women in Saudi Arabia “have demonstrated positions that expressed correct opinions and advice”.
Before he died in January, he appointed 30 women to the country’s top advisory Shura Council.
There were 2,100 council seats available in Saturday’s vote. An additional 1,050 seats are appointed with approval from the king.
The results of the elections are expected to be announced later. – BBC News

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