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Aljazi al-Hussaini, a candidate for the municipal council in the town of Diriyah, on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh, shows an electoral campaign license issued by the central municipal elections committee on November 29, 2015.

More than 900 women are running for public office in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, a country that granted partial suffrage to women only four years ago, CNN reports.

The municipal elections on Dec. 12 are the first since 2011, when the late King Abdullah decreed that women could vote or run for office in the kingdom — though only at the local level.

Saudi election officials opened voting registration to women in August, CNN says. The forthcoming election will fill half the seats in the country’s municipal councils; King Salman, who took the throne in January after Abdullah’s death, will appoint the rest.

The kingdom’s adherence to conservative interpretations of Islamic scripture has long made it an inhospitable place for women, who are not allowed to drive and cannot travel or attend school without a male guardian.


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