Saudi women angered over voting ban

April 25, 2011 at 11:38 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 25 (UPI) -- A group of Saudi women launched a Facebook page decrying a ban on women voters in a Saudi municipal election, officials said.

The group of about 60 women launched their Facebook campaign under the name "Baldi," which means "my country," after being prevented from voting in municipal elections.

The group told Gulf News Monday there are no laws limiting participation in the election to men. The group's chairwoman, Fawziya Al Hani, told reporters their protests outside voting places are not a violation of law.

Al Hani said women held peaceful protests at voting centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman, the report said.

A woman "has the right to cast her vote and stand as a candidate," Al Hani said.

Elfat Qabbani, vice chairperson of the industrial committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, said depriving women of the right to vote came as a shock to Saudi women who are active in public and community service.

"I couldn't understand the fears expressed by some people regarding the participation of women in these elections," Qabbani said. "Previously women in Bahrain and Kuwait took part in similar elections and the experiments have succeeded and women have played effective roles in municipal councils in these countries."

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