By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has announced that women will be free to vote and run for elections for the first time in the conservative Gulf nation’s history.
Speaking before the country’s consultative Shura Council on September 25, Abdullah said women will be appointed to the 150-member council when the next round begins in 2013.
They will also be allowed to vote and run in municipal elections, the country’s only polls, starting in 2015.
Women activists have long campaigned for the right to vote in Saudi Arabia, which had been the only predominantly Muslim country still banning women from the vote.
Saudi women are still prohibited from driving and traveling without a male guardian.