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Saudi shoura passes amendment to allow women’s franchise

Posted by on June 27, 2011 0 Comment

A majority of the Shoura Council members voted for an amendment to a draft resolution on Sunday to allow women to vote in the municipal elections.

There was a difference of opinion on an article in the annual report of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, which was tabled Sunday during the council’s 44th regular session, chaired by the Shoura Council Vice President Bandar Hajjar.

The voting took place during a closed-door session.

Women will not be able to either vote or contest in the upcoming elections in September for half of the members of the country’s municipal councils.

“This was a general recommendation,” Mohammed Almuhanna, media spokesman for the Shoura Council, was quoted as saying in an earlier statement. “It has nothing to do with the current elections but is rather a recommendation for future elections.”

Hundreds of women around the Kingdom have joined an online campaign called Baladi, Arabic for “My Country”, in protest at their exclusion from the municipal elections.

In April, dozens showed up at voting registration centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to demand their right to vote but were turned down by officials.

The house also approved the draft penal code designed to counter terrorism and financing terror-related activities. The suggestions for the draft penal code were tabled by the council’s Security Affairs Committee.

Shoura Council Secretary-General Muhammad Al-Ghamdi explained that it is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to fight terror in the Kingdom. He added that Saudi Arabia is framing a national strategy to fight terrorism and terror-related activities.

The penal code will also help the Kingdom coordinate actions against terrorist activities with other countries to ensure security and stability in the region, he added. Arab News

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