Landmark move for women in Saudi politics

2011-12-28 20:00

Riyadh - A Saudi official says for the first time, women in the conservative kingdom will not need a male guardian's approval to run or vote in municipal elections in 2015.

Shura Council member Fahad al-Anzi says that approval for women has already come from the Saudi king. The country's Shura Council is an all-male consultative body with no legislative powers.

The state-run al-Watan newspaper announced the change Wednesday. Even so, women in Saudi Arabia cannot travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian.

While King Abdullah has pushed for some changes on women's rights, he has been cautious not to push too hard against ultraconservative clerics, who have in the past challenged social reforms.

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