RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Women across Saudi Arabia marked a historic milestone on Saturday, both voting and running as candidates in government elections for the first time, but just outside polling stations they waited for male drivers — a reminder of the limitations still firmly in place.
The landmark election for local council seats was not expected to immediately advance the status of women in Saudi Arabia, who are still not permitted to drive, but it seen as a chance for them to make their voices heard as citizens.
“We are making history. I just made history,” said candidate Karima Bokhary, 50, after casting her ballot at a polling station in the capital Riyadh.
Bokhary was one of 979 women candidates vying for a seat on the country’s municipal councils, the only government body in which Saudi citizens can elect their representatives. An additional 5,968 male candidates were running in the election. There is no quota on the number of female council members.
Results were expected to be reported on Sunday.