For the first time in history, Saudi women are voting and running for office

The municipal elections in Saudi Arabia are coming up. Why is that of interest? Because Saudi women are running for election and will be able to vote for the first time on December 12—a first in the kingdom’s history, which is taking very small steps on a long road towards emancipation. During the campaign, women weren’t allowed to put their pictures on campaign material and were not allowed to talk to men when campaigning in public. But it’s a start. So far, 900 women seized the opportunity to run for office, and 136,000 women have registered to vote, compared to about 10 times that number of male voters, and over 6,000 men running for office. Electoral democracy is in general a new concept in Saudi Arabia, where tribal loyalties are very important.

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