The White House said Sunday it welcomed the decision by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to allow women to vote.
“We welcome Saudi King Abdullah’s announcement today that women will serve as full members of the Shura Council in the next session, and will have the right to participate in future municipal elections,” said National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement.
“These reforms recognize the significant contributions women in Saudi Arabia make to their society and will offer them new ways to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and communities,” Vietor said.
Vietor added that “the announcements made today represent an important step foward in expanding the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, and we support King Abdullah and the people of Saudi Arabia as they undertake these and other reforms.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced the decision while speaking before the country’s consultative Shura Council, and said that women will be appointed to the 150-member council when the next round begins in 2013.
Additionally, the King said women will be allowed to vote and run in municipal elections starting in 2015.