A Saudi woman was elected Saturday in the region of Mecca to first elections open to women , voters and candidates, in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced Sunday the local election commission. Hizab Salma bint al-Oteibi Madrakah will therefore serve on the City Council, city of the region of Mecca, the first holy place of Islam, said the president of the local electoral commission, Osama al-Bar, announcing the first results of the municipal elections.
Saudi Arabia is the last country in the world to deny its citizens the right to vote or be a candidate in an election. This kingdom, governed by a rigorous version of Islam, is one of the most restrictive in the world for women who do not have the right to drive and must obtain the consent of a man -a tuteur- to work or even travel.
Mixed prohibited in public places
Saturday, voters and, for the first time, voters had to choose between 6,000 candidates and 900 men women . Mostly dressed in black and veiled abbayas covering their bodies from head to toe, Saudi women often voted with emotion. All candidates contested seats in 284 municipal councils, assemblies with limited powers that are the only ones in the kingdom to be composed of elected representatives.
In his district, Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was competing with seven men and two women, according Osama al-Bar. “The participation of women in municipal councils” testifies among other “attention and interest of the state to further involve these Councils in the country’s development”, welcomed the president of the local electoral commission.
However, the diversity in public places is prohibited, the Saudi campaign could only meet with their voters, which are 119,000 to have registered for the first time nearly 1.5 million voters, according to official figures.
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