"History made" Saudi women as candidates, voters in municipal election

(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The third installment of the Saudi municipal election next December will witness history in the making with women nationals participating in the election both as candidates and voters.

Speaking to KUNA, head of the election's public committee Ajdia Al-Qahtani said that involving women in the process of election came as a decision from the government to enable this sector of society to be more proactive within the public domain.

Since the opening of registration for candidacy, 45 women from the Riyadh area had signed in to run for the municipal council, said the official, adding he expected that around 200 female candidates will register in the whole of Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the importance of the election, Candidate Salma Al-Harth said that this was the time for women to showcase what they are made of, adding that she will work hard to better life for Saudis if elected.

Through the guidelines set by Islamic Sharia, women will be more involved in developing all possible sectors in Saudi Arabia, she said.

On her part, coordinator for the "My Country" campaign, to promote women's involvement in the election, Dr. Hatoun Al-Fasi told KUNA that women in Saudi Arabia are waiting for the chance to participate in the municipal election which first began in 2004.

Al-Fasi, who is a university professor, said that the previous incarnations of the election will cast their shadows on the upcoming balloting.

Al-Fasi affirmed that she was confident that women will have an impact on the upcoming election.

Meanwhile, she called on women municipal council hopefuls to prove themselves if they got elected, noting that the government quota of allocating 30 percent seats for women at the Shura council makes it paramount for women to do their best. She hoped that the quota would increase to 50 in the future.

Reflecting similar statements, media figure Fadilah Al-Jafal said that this was a historical chance for Saudi women to partake in the development of the country.

She added that women could prove themselves of being a valuable asset to the citizens of Saudi Arabia through their heavy involvement in the municipal process, calling all women to be involved in the next election.

Regarding the lack of women involvement in previous elections, businesswoman Dalal Ka'ki attributed that to the social norms ruling Saudi Arabia in that period; however, she affirmed that things changed since 2004.

Ka'ki argued that the council had made some huge differences in the Kingdom and one of the major changes was involving women in the process in the upcoming election.

She called on women candidates to benefit from the experiences of women municipal members in neighboring the GCC and Arab countries to make sure their upcoming involvement would be a success.

The decision to involve women in the upcoming election came from late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who in December 25th, 2011, called for including women as voters and candidates.

Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

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