29 Mar 2011

Women denied vote in Saudi elections

11:14 am on 29 March 2011

Women in Saudi Arabia will not be allowed to vote in the long-delayed municipal elections to be held in September.

The monarchy announced a date for the elections last week, in the first political concession since protests sweeping the region reached the kingdom.

This round of voting has been delayed since 2009, and the municipal councils, which have little power, are half filled by appointees of Saudi princes serving as provincial governors, Reuters reports.

The Election Commission now says the participation of women needs some preparation and claims that can not be done in all regions of the kingdom.

Voter registration opens on 23 April and the elections will be held on 22 22 September.

Women in the Gulf Arab state must be covered from head to toe in public and are not allowed to drive.