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Saudi Women Barred again to Cast Votes

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TEHRAN, March 29 (ICANA) – Saudi women have been refused permission to participate in the coming municipal elections as both voters and candidates since authorities are not yet prepared for the move.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:30:09 PM
Saudi Women Barred again to Cast Votes

“We are not ready for the participation of women in these municipal elections,” AFP quoted the electoral committee head, Abdulrahman al-Dahmash, as telling reporters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Monday.

Al-Dahmash pointed out that more time was required to organize the logistics so that women could vote. He also renewed earlier promises that authorities would allow women's participation in the next ballot.

The report comes as oil-rich Saudi Arabia announced last week that it will hold elections to elect members to 219 municipal councils on April 23.

This is the second time that a long-running ban has stripped Saudi women of their right to stand as candidates or to vote in polls. Their participation was denied in 2005, when the Persian Gulf state held its first municipal elections.

Meanwhile, Saudi Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Prince Mansour bin Miteb has said a special committee would decide on women's participation in the forthcoming municipal polls.

"My ministry is not responsible for elections. It is vested on a specialized committee that sets out the rules and regulations for nominations and participants. It will discuss prospects of women's participation in the coming elections as well as the nature of such participation," he noted.

Marriage, divorce and children's custody are rights that Saudi women are still being denied. They are also required to be governed and guarded by male relatives regardless of their capability or compatibility.

Saudi women need permission from a son, a brother or a male relative to travel and own property, irrespective of age.

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