Here is an indication of just how deep and thoroughgoing is the Saudi democratization and reform. The women are still in their place, as are the dhimmis. One heartening sign, however, is that women were prepared to run, and this ruling may not go down easy. From ArabNews via MENAFN, with thanks to Nicolei:
JEDDAH, 19 September 2004 “” The General Committee for Municipal Elections announced yesterday that women would not be allowed to run in the upcoming municipal elections. This puts an end to speculation about women’s role in the Feb. 10 elections, Al-Jazirah newspaper said.
The paper quoted an unnamed source as rejecting speculation about women running for the elections. Responding to intentions of some women, military men and municipal officials to run for office, the source said they had misunderstood the law which had clearly stated that “all muwatin (male citizens) can participate in elections.” The law did not use the word “muwatina (female citizen), thus excluding women from contesting elections, the paper said….
Representing the views that women should not run for office, an anonymous Shoura Council member said: “What do women want with voting and municipality elections? Why would they want to trouble themselves with things that are new and unfamiliar? These issues are against their nature so why ask for trouble?“