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Three women win in landmark Saudi elections

13 December 2015, 14:36

Women win seats in Saudi municipal elections
Three Saudi women have won in the conservative kingdom's municipal elections in which women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the first time.
Riyadh - Three Saudi women have won in the conservative kingdom's municipal elections in which women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the first time, unofficial results from the election commission showed on Sunday.

Of the 6 917 candidates who contested the elections held on Saturday in the Gulf oil-rich country, 979 were women.

The first three female winners were identified as Salma al-Oteibi in the holy province of Mecca as well as Lamy Abdelaziz and Rasha Hefzy - both in the western electoral district of Jeddah.  

The election commission is expected to announce the final official results of the polls later on Sunday.

Two-thirds of the seats in the kingdom's 284 municipal councils were up for grabs in Saturday's elections.

The other third of its members will be appointed by the government. The councils have a four-year mandate. Saudi Arabia has no elected parliament.

Women's participation in the polls was decreed in 2011 by then-king Abdullah.

The monarch, who died in January, also ordered that 20% of members of the kingdom's consultative Shura Council be women.

Saudi Arabia is dominated by the puritanical Wahhabi school of Islam.

Despite growing female representation on Saudi government bodies, activists complain that women in the country still require a male guardian to transact official business and are also banned from driving.



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