Saudi woman wins council seat in elections for first time

Saudi woman wins council seat in Mecca after Saudi Arabia’s municipal elections, first one open to female voters and candidates, votes are still being counted

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Saudi women seen casting vote at a polling station in the coastal city of Jeddah, on December 12, 2015

Saudi officials stated on Sunday that a Saudi woman Salma bint Hizab al Oteibi won a seat in the council of Madrakah in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca following the country’s landmark election in which women are allowed to vote and stand as candidate for the first time ever.

According to the Saudi media sources, election commission president Osama al Bar gave the good news adding that she was running against two more women candidates in addition to seven men.

Saudis have casted their votes in country’s municipal election on Saturday, however votes were still being counted on Sunday.

According to official figures, at least 130,000 women have registered to vote in comparison to 1.35 million men.

Besides, 978 female candidates are running for 2,100 seats in 284 local municipal councils, while there are more than 5,000 male candidates.

Saudi Arabia, a conservative kingdom where women are not allowed to drive and need to be accompanied by a male guardian, has became the last country to give women the right to elect and to be elected.

Although some hardliners still think women should stay at home, for many people Saturday’s election marks a significant step toward greater gender equality in the country.

A Saudi voter Satham al Malik told TRTWorld, “It is a good thing because women are our mothers, sisters, and daughters they are part of our society. It is great they can take part.”

TRTWorld and agencies