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Women to take part in Saudi Arabia elections

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 01:16

Women candidates and female voters are set to cast their ballots for the first time ever in Saudi Arabia's local municipal elections on December 12. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN RE-EDITED FROM PREVIOUS VERSION Dr. Fawzeya Al-Harbi is one of around 900 women running for office in Saudi Arabia's municipal elections. The ballot will be the first in Saudi history where women are allowed to participate and to vote. But Al-Harbi says campaigning has been difficult. Saudi policy bans candidates from interacting directly with the opposite sex... and in Saudi Arabia, voters are overwhelmingly men. So, Al-Harbi is focusing on social media tactics and the female vote... and the response has been positive. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AUM FAHAD, RESIDENT OF RIYADH, SAYING: "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..." Many young male voters say they agree with the late King Abdullah, who announced in 2011 that women should be able to vote and take part in elections. But as polling stations prepare for this historic day, democracy and gender equality are still mostly foreign ideas in Saudi Arabia. Women are still banned from driving, and must get approval from a male "guardian" to work, travel abroad and open a bank account.... Although for Fawzeya Al-Harbi, the elections are a sign at least, that things are moving in the right direction.

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Women to take part in Saudi Arabia elections

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 01:16