Voting has opened in Saudi Arabia’s first elections open to female voters and candidates.

More than 5,000 men and around 980 women are standing as candidates, with more than 130,000 women registered to vote compared to 1.35 million men.

The vote has been seen as a tentative step towards easing restrictions that are among the world’s tightest on women.

Men and women vote separately in the kingdom, where the sexes are strictly segregated.

The Islamist monarchy, where woman are banned from driving and must cover themselves from head to toe in public, was the last country in the world where only men were allowed to vote.

More than 900 women are running for seats on municipal councils, Saudi Arabia’s only elected public chambers.

They are up against almost 6,000 men competing for places on 284 councils whose powers are restricted to local matters, including responsibility for streets, public gardens and rubbish collection… see more

source: khaleejtimes