At least twenty Saudi women win municipal council seats

At least twenty Saudi women win municipal council seats
At least 20 women have been elected in Saudi Arabia's historic local council elections where women voted for the first time.
1 min read
13 December, 2015
Saudi woman arrives at a polling station in Jeddah to vote in municipal elections [Getty]

In Saudi Arabia's first ever election open to women voters and candidates, at least 14 women were elected to municipal councils.

The local elections committee in Mecca announced on Sunday that Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, in the holy city of Mecca.

Mona al-Amiri won in Tobouk and another two women were elected in Ihsaa governorate - Sana al-Hamam and Masouma Abd ar-Rida - according to al-Arabiya.

The votes are still being counted and the complete official results are yet to be announced.

While women accounted to less than 10 percent of registered voters, 84 percent of those registered went to the polling stations, compared with 58 percent of men.

Women in Saudi Arabia still have to overcome several bureaucratic and social restrictions before a balanced participation between men and women voters could be achieved, let alone candidates.

More than 975 women ran as candidates, competing with nearly 6,000 men for seats in the municipal councils.

Campaigning was not easy for women candidates as they could not directly meet any men voters or drive themselves around.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not have an elected legislature, and municipal councils have no legislative powers.