Women’s entry enriches Shoura

Women’s entry enriches Shoura
1 / 2
Women’s entry enriches Shoura
2 / 2
Updated 13 January 2013

Women’s entry enriches Shoura

Women’s entry enriches Shoura

In a major initiative to reform the existing political system, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah yesterday named 30 women members to the 150-member Shoura Council.
According to a royal decree, women will form 20 percent of Shoura Council members when its new term begins Tuesday.
Shoura Council spokesman Muhammed Al-Mohanna told Arab News that the last session of the current membership will end Monday.
Although the new term begins Tuesday, the date of convening the new Shoura Council's maiden session will be determined later.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah appoints a team of 150 members from various professions for a term of four years. Incumbent President Abdullah Al-Asheikh has been reappointed.
Other key officials reappointed are Mohammed bin Ameen bin Ahmed Al-Jeffery, deputy speaker, and Fahad bin Mu'tad bin Shafaq Al-Hamad, assistant speaker.
Al-Mohanna said the inclusion of women as Shoura members is in accordance with Shariah law, which is the foundation for the nation laid down by the late King Abdulaziz.
Al-Mohanna said that seven of the 30 appointees have worked previously with the council as consultants.
The king made two amendments to the royal decree governing the Shoura Council, one amended an article to the council's statute to provide for women's representation to the body, while the other named the 150 members, including the 30 women.
King Abdullah took the decision after consultations with religious leaders in the Kingdom, according to the decrees published by the Saudi Press Agency.
It was stipulated that men and women will be segregated inside the council. A special area will be designated for the women, and they will enter through a separate door so that they do not to mix with their male colleagues.

In September 2011, King Abdullah granted women the right to cast ballots and run as candidates in the local elections set for 2015.
Reviewing the four-year period, Al-Mohanna, who has written a 2,119-page book entitled, “The Saudi Majlis Ash-Shoura: Its National and International Roles,” said the council has taken up several regional and global social, economic and political matters relevant to the Kingdom.
The body acts as a consultative council and has debated several important laws and regulations and annual reports of government and nongovernmental bodies. The long-awaited mortgage law successfully passed through the Shoura Council last year.
Following the king's announcement, Al-Asheikh appointed a special committee to implement the directive of the king for the enrollment of women as members of the consultative body.
Speaking about the new committee for women's affairs, Al-Asheikh said the body will make all the necessary arrangements for the women. "All arrangements to accommodate the women members will be made by the committee to receive women members at the sixth session of the council." Administrative staff to assist women members will be appointed before they arrive.
"The enrollment of women as members of the council will be a qualitative shift in the functioning of the council," Al-Asheikh said.
He pointed out that all the activities of the council are always carried out within the framework of Islam.
"Saudi women have excelled in education, health, economic, administrative and social fields in society," Al-Asheikh said. He said the council would follow the guidelines laid down by the king to work for national unity, the nation's progress and regional security and peace.
"Saudi women have excelled in education, health, economics, administrative and social fields in society," Al-Asheikh said, adding that they have made remarkable achievements in research studies and some have served the council as consultants.
Therefore, he added that women's entry to the council would bring new blood to an institution where national and international problems are discussed to achieve the Kingdom's goals.