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12 October 2004

Women Barred from Saudi Vote

Women Barred from Saudi Vote, Election Body Says
By Dominic Evans

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's election committee said on Tuesday women will not take part in the country's first nationwide vote, blaming problems over special polling arrangements for women in the conservative Muslim kingdom.

The widely expected announcement marks a victory for Saudi Arabia's religious establishment, alarmed by even modest reforms in the birthplace of Islam.

"Because of the shortage of time it is difficult to create favorable conditions for women to participate," Prince Mansour bin Mutib bin Abdul Aziz, head of the general municipal elections committee, told a news conference.


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