Women to Make Debut in Bahrain's Consultative Council
Five Bahraini women, including a Christian, are set to become members of a 40-strong appointed consultative council, for the first time in the Gulf Arab state, newspapers said Tuesday.
The women figure among 13 new members, while 27 incumbent members have been re-appointed to the council, or Majlis al-Shura, formed in 1992, the papers said.
Among the five women is Alice Samaan, a Christian of Iraqi origin whose family settled in Bahrain in the 19th century.
If confirmed, Samaan, who has occupied several government jobs and worked for the United Nations in Manama, will become the first Christian to assume a political role in the six Gulf monarchies.
The four other Bahraini women are an official at the youth and sports ministry, a California university graduate, a health ministry official and a health ministry doctor.
Newspapers said the new members would swear allegiance on September 30 in front of Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, while the first session of the council was scheduled for October 3.
Last December, Sheikh Hamad announced that municipal elections would soon be held in Bahrain and women be given the vote.
Bahrain's elected parliament was dissolved in 1975 for "obstructing the work of government". The mainly Shiite Muslim opposition has campaigned for it to be restored, sparking unrest that cost at least 38 lives between 1994 and 1999 - MANAMA (AFP)
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