(From AFP)

Voting began on Saturday in Saudi Arabia’s first elections open to female voters and candidates, a tentative step towards easing restrictions that are among the world’s tightest on women.

Aljazi Al Hussaini, a candidate for the municipal council in the town of Diriyah, shows her electoral campaign

Male voters began to enter a polling centre in central Riyadh at about 8am (0500 GMT), an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Men and women vote separately in the kingdom, where the sexes are strictly segregated.

Fewer than 10 men had arrived to cast early ballots at the centre visited by AFP.

After checking their names on sheets of paper hanging on the wall and verifying their eligibility with elections staff, each voter made his choice on a ballet paper which he dropped into a transparent box.

Saudi Arabia, where women are banned from driving and observe strict dress codes, was the last country where women were not allowed to vote.

More than 900 women are running for seats on municipal councils, the kingdom’s sole elected public chambers. Read More

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