For the first time, women register to run for election in Saudi
The late King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run as candidates in this year's local elections.
Jeddah - Around 200 women had expressed interest in running as candidates in the December 12 municipal elections.
Published: Sun 30 Aug 2015, 4:25 PM
Last updated: Mon 31 Aug 2015, 2:03 AM
Saudi women for the first time began to register as candidates on Sunday for municipal polls in the kingdom where they face a host of restrictions, including a driving ban.
Earlier this month, in another first, women started to register as voters at centres run by all-female staff, separate from registration facilities for Saudi males.
Women in the Gulf state are banned from driving and have to cover in public from head to toe.
They also have to obtain the consent of a male guardian to travel, work, apply for a passport or to marry.
The late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2011 granted women the right to vote and run as candidates in this year's local elections, saying: "We refuse to marginalise women's role in Saudi society."
Saudi-funded newspaper Al Hayat said earlier this month that around 200 women had expressed interest in running as candidates in the December 12 vote.
Candidate registration is to run until September 17, while voter registration ends on September 14.
Out of 1,263 polling stations in 284 municipalities across the Kingdom, 424 have been reserved for women voters.
"I am very excited to take part in this new experience," said Amal Mohammed, a 35-year-old woman as she registered to vote in the port city of Jeddah.
King Abdullah, who died in January, introduced municipal elections to Saudi Arabia in 2005 when he was Crown Prince.
This year, two-thirds of municipal council members will be elected and the rest appointed by the authorities. In the last all-male vote in 2011, half of the members were elected.
Municipal councils are to be granted financial and administrative independence to encourage "participation of citizens in decision-making on matters that affect their daily lives", said Jadee Al Qahtani, local elections committee spokesman.
In February 2013, King Abdullah also for the first time named women to the country's Shura Council, an all-appointed consultative body.