http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld ... 3034.story
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia surprised his ultraconservative nation Sunday by announcing bold reforms that for the first time will give women the right to vote, run for local office and serve on the Shura Council, the king's advisory board.
The measures by an aging monarch who has battled Islamic hard-liners for years will marginally improve the standing of women in a country that still forbids them to drive or leave the house without their faces covered. The moves appear likely to enrage religious conservatives while advancing at least a veneer of change in one of the world's most repressive states.
"Because we refuse to marginalize women in society in all roles that comply with sharia [Islamic law], we have decided … to involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from the next term," the king said in a five-minute speech to his advisors.
He added: "Women will be able to run as candidates" in the 2015 municipal election "and will even have a right to vote."
Odd wording in that last quoted statement.