Around 900 Saudi women running for office in historic election

Published December 1st, 2015 - 06:22 GMT

With less than two weeks until voting gets underway in Saudi Arabia, women pariticipating in the kingdom's historic election are beginning their campaigns, Reuters reported.

It will be the first vote since the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz granted women the right to vote and run for office in the conservative country.

“We have been waiting to be given this opportunity for the last 10 years. Ten years as ladies to participate in the political and social decision-making in the country,” local municipal electoral candidate Dr Fawzeya Al-Harbi told Reuters.

Al-Harbi is one of about 900 women running for office. The vote, to be held on December 12, is expected to attract around 1.7 million voters from various regions in the country, Reuters reports.

“It was difficult in the past to communicate with men, but with the presence of a woman now, I can speak to her directly and raise my demands with her. This makes things more comfortable,” said Aum Fahad, a local resident.

Female candidates told Reuters that campaigning for the election has been difficult because women have to limit the amount of time they spend with unrelated men.

Municipal councils are the only elected bodies in the kingdom. They handle local matters, such as zoning changes, and until now the portion that wasn’t appointed was elected by men only, Reuters reports.

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