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Saudi King Gives Vote to Women

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said on Sunday that women in his kingdom will be allowed to vote and to stand for election. The 88-year old king’s edict takes effect in 2015 and does not come in time for the next election. Little impact is expected from the decree because the only elected positions are one-half of the total municipal council seats that have little impact to begin with. Nevertheless, the announcement is being welcomed as a sign the king is fulfilling his promise of reform and as an opening that many believe will be enlarged to include other civil rights. The king made no indication that he will permit women to drive – an issue that became a cause célèbre when women recently took to the roadways without permission.