Saudi King Advances Political Rights for Women

September 25, 2011

[Washington, DC] -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz announced today that Saudi women will be allowed to vote in the third municipal elections. Addressing the opening session of the annual Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council) meeting, King Abdullah also announced that women will be appointed to the Council beginning in the next session.

“Since we reject to marginalize the role of women in the Saudi society, in every field of works, according to the (Islamic) Shariah guidelines, and after consultations with many of our religious scholars, including members the Council of Senior Ulema [religious scholars], who have expressed the preference for this orientation, and supported this trend, we have decided the following,” King Abdullah stated.

“First, the participation of women in the Majlis Al-Shura as members from next session in accordance with the Shariah guidelines,” said King Abdullah. “Second, as of the next session, women will have the right to nominate themselves for membership of Municipal Councils, and also have the right to participate in the nomination of candidates with the Islamic guidelines.”

King Abdullah is committed to continued advancements and developments in women’s education and employment and political participation.  In 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed a number of women in a variety of jobs in the political, economic, women's rights and computer departments. Most recently, the first female deputy minister, Nourah Al-Fayez, was appointed to Deputy Minister of Education for Women’s Education.

Saudi Arabia held its first municipal elections in 2005.  The second elections for seats on municipal councils will be held on September 29. 

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