Women arrive at polling stations for historic Saudi Arabia elections

Women arrive at polling stations in Saudi Arabia to cast their votes for the first time in historic municipal elections.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (DECEMBER 12, 2015) (REUTERS) – ACCESS ALL)

1. WOMEN ARRIVING AT POLLING STATION

2. WOMAN CASTING HER VOTE

3. WOMAN TAKES PHOTOGRAPH OF ANOTHER WOMAN VOTING

STORY: Women headed to polling stations in Saudi Arabia on Saturday (December 12) to take part in municipal elections for the first time.

Saudi Arabian women are both running for election and voting for the first time in the elections, in what is viewed as a small step towards gender equality in the autocratic nation where women are still legally barred from driving.

Saudi Arabia is the last country in the world to allow women to vote except for the Vatican City where male cardinals elect the pope.

According to election rules, female candidates can be fined if they are caught speaking directly to male voters. Men and women will cast ballots at separate voting centres.

Among the 6,917 registered candidates for Saturday’s election, 979 were women as of Nov. 29, according to Human Rights Watch. Women made up less than 10 percent of the voting pool, the New York-based watchdog said in an online briefing.