Kuwait May Allow Women the Right to Vote and Run for Office

In a move that would be a major step towards granting Kuwaiti women political rights, Kuwaiti parliamentarians gave initial approval to a law that would allow women the right to vote and run for office for the first time in Kuwaiti history. In two weeks the bill will have to pass a second reading, and then it will have to be signed by Kuwait’s ruler to become law, reports BBC News.

The emir of Kuwait is known to support women’s rights and is expected to sign it into law if it passes the second parliamentary reading. According to the Associated Press, legislators from conservative Kuwaiti tribes are leading the opposition to the law, arguing that Islam does not grant women the right to vote and that political rights will undermine women’s domestic duties.

Kuwait’s constitution gives men and women equal rights, but the current election law only allows men over the age of 21 who are not in the police or military the right to vote or run for office, reports the Associated Press.

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Associated Press 4/19/05; BBC News 4/19/05; LA Times Wire 4/20/05

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