Kuwait Grants Political Rights to Its Women
CAIRO, May 16 - Kuwait's Parliament granted full political rights to women on Monday, making way for them to vote and run for office in parliamentary and local elections for the first time in the country's history. The surprise amendment to Kuwait's election law ends a decades-long struggle by women's rights campaigners for full suffrage, and promises to redefine the city-state's political landscape.
The prime minister, Sheik Sabah al-Jaber al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait's ruling family, has been under growing pressure to allow women's suffrage and is believed to have forced the measure through ahead of a planned trip to Washington. He is widely expected to appoint a woman as minister of health in coming weeks.
Although women can now run in all elections, the legislation was passed too late for them to run in the council elections next month. The soonest they will be able to run in any election is 2007, when parliamentary elections are scheduled.