For the first time in the country's history, the Saudi Arabian women have cast their votes in municipal elections. Saudi Arabia has always been known as a conservative kingdom, where women were deprived of several of their fundamental rights. In a much welcoming gesture, several women even stood as candidates in the elections. Nearly 978 women candidates registered their names, while 5,938 men contested in the elections. The turnout for the polling was one of the highest in the country's election history, said the polling officials. However, despite their brave step, all the women candidates were represented by a man and they all had to speak behind a partition during their campaign.
With more than 130,000 women enrolled their names in the electoral list, the number of Saudi men voters surpasses 1.35 million. "Change is a big word but the election is the way to make sure we are really represented," said Salman al-Rasheed, Saudi Arabia's first woman voter. Before his death in January, King Abdullah said "women in Saudi Arabia have demonstrated positions that expressed correct opinions and advice." Abdullah also appointed 30 women to the country's top advisory Shura Council.