- Title: SAUDI-MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS/VOTE Saudi women to vote for the first time - officials
- Date: 23rd August 2015
- Summary: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (AUGUST 22, 2015) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL SITTING AT TABLE BEFORE NEWS CONFERENCE SPEAKERS FROM THE LOCAL COMMISSION FOR THE ELECTIONS IN RIYADH SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF THE ELECTIONS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, ABDULLAH ASKAR, SAYING: "As for women, when she becomes a candidate and is elected, she will have an active role as a member of a municipal council, she has a voice and opinion, of course (it will be) within the Islamic Sharia (law) that complies with the Islamic regulations and legislations." CONFERENCE TAKING PLACE BIG BANNER READING (Arabic): "MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS 2015, YOU OWN THE DECISION, CHOOSE THE BEST" (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY HEAD OF THE ELECTIONS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, MOHAMMED AL-KHURAYIF, SAYING: "This is, I think, a new experience for the Saudi society, and we are in front of new experience because of the participation of woman for this new elections. We are...in the...good preparations for this new experience, I think the women will prepared for many years for achieving this goals." VARIOUS OF ELECTION COMMITTEE PREPARING ELECTIONS DOCUMENTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY HEAD OF THE ELECTIONS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, MOHAMMED AL-KHURAYIF, SAYING: "I think the society is prepared very well for accepting this new experience for many reasons. One of the reasons I think, women...now achieve very high for qualified educations, and now we have women professors, doctors, too many fields and in this case I think the society will accept this as a new experience because this experience will add so many things for the benefit of society." VARIOUS OF BUILDING BELONGING TO AGENCY SECRETARIAT FOR THE MUNICIPALITIES OF THE RIYADH REGION RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (AUGUST 23, 2015) (REUTERS) SAUDI FAMILY WALKING ALONG STREET SAUDI WOMEN TALKING TO EACH OTHER WOMEN TAKING ELEVATOR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EMPLOYEE IN PRIVATE SECTOR COMPANY, ALAA AL-SANIE, SAYING: "The woman in Saudi Arabia began as a teacher, administrator, she has started in different sector, professionally, she gradually became a physician and engineer, then recently moved to the Shura Council. Her presence in government agencies and ministries qualifies her presence in the municipality council today." TWO WOMEN WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EMPLOYEE IN PRIVATE SECTOR COMPANY, ALAA AL-SANIE, SAYING: "In December we will go to the polls, this is an opportunity, women can use this chance to choosing our candidate." SANIE TAKING THE ELEVATOR
- Embargoed: 7th September 2015 13:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA1G6O5H0BNB0C4VCYBG7VT8G3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: For the first time ever, Saudi women will be able to vote and stand in elections, the executive committee for municipal elections announced on Saturday (August 22).
The move marks a bold shift in the ultra-conservative absolute monarchy as pressure for social and democratic reform sweeps the Middle East.
It is by far the biggest change in Saudi Arabia's tightly-controlled society yet, originally ordered by the late 88-year-old Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who died in January this year. He had a reformer's reputation but had ruled as a cautious conservative.
This will be the third time elections will be held since 2005.
The executive committee decided there will be 242 polling stations and centres just for women, designed in accordance with Sharia law and Islamic regulations. They will provide privacy for women, with men having 893 of their own centres.
"As for women, when she becomes a candidate and is elected, she will have an active role as a member of a municipal council, she has a voice and opinion, of course (it will be) within the Islamic Sharia (law) that complies with the Islamic regulations and legislations," said Adbullah Askar, head of Elections Executive Committee during the news conference.
Officials say that women voting is a new challenge for the Saudi society and that everyone will benefit from the move.
"This is I think a new experience for the Saudi society, and we are in front of new experience because of the participation of woman for this new elections. We are...in the...good preparations for this new experience, I think the women will prepared for many years for achieving this goals," said Mohammed Al-Khurayif, deputy head of The Elections Executive Committee.
Many Saudi women have welcomed the announcement.
In a country where even cautious change is bitterly opposed by conservative clerics and some members of the ruling family, women's rights have drawn scrutiny at home and from abroad.
Women in Saudi Arabia must also have written approval from a male guardian -- a father, husband, brother or son -- to leave the country, work or even undergo certain medical operations.
In 2002, the Saudi religious police shocked the nation and the world when they prevented schoolgirls from evacuating a burning building because they were not wearing full Islamic attire. Fifteen died.
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