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Saudis Elect First Woman Politician

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Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi enters into history as the first woman to be elected in Saudi Arabia

Muslim women Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi has won a seat on a municipal council for the first time in Saudi Arabia, after the kingdom lifted its bar on women taking part in elections, BBC reported. She¬†won a seat in Mecca province in Saturday’s vote, the electoral commission said.

Ms Oteibi won a seat on the council in Madrakah in Mecca province, the president of the election commission, Osama al-Bar, told the official SPA news agency.

She was running against seven men and two women, Mr Bar was quoted as saying.

The election was the first where women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates, and is being viewed as a landmark in the conservative kingdom.

Saudi women still face many curbs in public life, including driving.

A total of 978 women registered as candidates, alongside 5,938 men.

Officials said about 130,000 women had registered to vote in Saturday’s poll, compared with 1.35 million men.

The disparity was attributed by female voters to bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of transport, the AFP news agency says.

Female candidates were also not allowed to address male voters directly during campaigning. Turnout was high, state media reported.