Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States, and US citizens hear less about intolerance and the lack of civil liberties inside the Saudi kingdom than in places like Yemen and Syria. Now for the first time in Saudi history, women have been granted the right to vote -- and even, locally, to hold public office. The current king of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, has shown some tendencies toward modernization. He also should have plenty of respect for women: he's been married three times and has eleven children (ten sons).
But many aren't satisfied with the pace of change, despite the new election rules and women's suffrage. "Saudi Arabia has done a great PR job in selling these elections as part of much-touted reforms. The reality is that not much changes," a skeptical Ali al-Ahmed told the Washington Post. Mr. al-Ahmed is the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs. But he is not a Saudi woman. Because the fact is, despite plenty of laws that are mind-bogglingly discriminatory by Western standards, women really will vote in the upcoming elections. And some of them will vote for other women. Saudi women began registering to vote in August.
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Haifa al-Hababi, 37 y.old architect, prof., columnist, is 1st woman to register as candidate in S.Arabian elections. https://t.co/q1QqX4n4tk
— Kiran Gandhi (@MadameGandhi) December 2, 2015