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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May, 2004, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Kuwait moves to grant women vote
Women in Kuwait (archive image)
Women in the key US ally have long sought suffrage
The government in the conservative Gulf Arab state of Kuwait has embarked on a new effort to grant women full political rights.

The Council of Ministers approved a bill allowing women to vote and to stand for election which must now go before the 50-member parliament.

Legislators narrowly defeated a similar move in 1999 under pressure from Islamic and tribal lobbies.

Women in oil-rich Kuwait have been campaigning for the vote for decades.

The Council of Ministers said after its weekly cabinet meeting it hoped to amend Kuwait's 1962 election law as part of its policy of "broadening popular participation".

Under the new legislation, women would be allowed to both stand and vote in parliamentary elections.

It must be approved by the Emir, Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah, before being presented to parliament.

The emir submitted the bill defeated five years ago.

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24 Sep 03  |  Middle East
Timeline: Kuwait
14 Jul 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Kuwait
11 Sep 03  |  Country profiles

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