JEDDAH, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
said on Sunday women in the conservative Islamic kingdom will
have the right to join the advisory Shura Council as full
members and participate in future municipal elections, meeting a
key goal of liberal activists.
"Because we refuse to marginalise women in society in all
roles that comply with sharia, we have decided, after
deliberation with our senior ulama (clerics) and others... to
involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from the
next term," he said in a speech delivered to the Shura Council.
"Women will be able to run as candidates in the municipal
election and will even have a right to vote," he added.
Activists in the country have long called for greater rights
for women, who are barred from travelling, working or having
medical operations without the permission of a male relative and
are forbidden from driving.
Those changes will come after municipal elections this
Thursday, for which women have been barred from voting or
(Reporting By Asma Alsharif; Writing by Angus McDowall)
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