Thursday, December 18, 2014

Saudi open to debating the ban on women drivers, says Shoura Council leader

December 17, 2014 - The Saudi English language daily, the Arab News, issued the following. A link to the story is here, and the text is below.

The Shoura Council will discuss the issue of women’s driving but this must take place within its rules and regulations, the head of the consultative legislative body said recently.

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Asheikh said the council is not avoiding the issue but “it is important that the discussion occurs within regulations and according to specific mechanisms.”

He said the council did not reprimand three members recently who spoke to the media after it refused to discuss the women’s driving issue. He said the council had merely pointed out that the proposal did not comply with regulations.

He said the council is currently looking to boost its online presence by developing its website and opening accounts on YouTube and Twitter. Over the past 20 years, the Council of Ministers has issued more than 900 decisions based on the recommendations of the Shoura Council, he said.

In a recent interview, Al-Asheikh said the council would discuss all topics that fall within its powers and functions, including general development and economic plans, social plans, annual performance reports, rules and regulations, international treaties, and other national priorities.

In response to a question about how the council operates with 30 women members, Al-Asheikh said: “The council has welcomed the historic decision by King Abdullah to appoint Saudi women to one of the most important national decision-making bodies because he saw the need to broaden participation.”

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