Saudi Women Gain Right To Vote, Run For Office

Steve Inskeep and David Greene report on Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's decree that women for the first time there will be allowed to vote and run in local elections in 2015.

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

The king of Saudi Arabia has promised a change to his country elections. Women may still be breaking the law when they drive in Saudi Arabia, but the king promises that four years from now they will be able to vote.

DAVID GREENE, Host:

King Abdullah decreed, yesterday, that women can vote in local elections and run for local office in the year 2015. The announcement drew praise, but also questions about that four year delay.

INSKEEP: The king's announcement came after consultations with top religious clerics. The move appears to be part of an effort to avoid any unrest in Saudi Arabia during this year of Arab protests.

GREENE: The kind has taken other measures, as well. Last March he announced a $93 billion package aimed at providing jobs and services to Saudis who aren't a part of the ruling elite.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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