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A Saudi woman sits behind the wheel of a car in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 28, 2013. EPA-EFE FILE/STR
A Saudi woman sits behind the wheel of a car in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 28, 2013. EPA-EFE FILE/STR

Women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

Women's rights activists have campaigned for years to have the ban on women driving lifted, among othr reasons because it has led to the arrest of dozens of…

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 Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered Tuesday the issuing of driver's licenses to women, who up to now have been banned from driving in this ultraconservative Muslim land.

The official Saudi news service SPA reported that the royal order will take effect next June, but offered no further details about the measure.

The news agency said the decision was taken after the majority of members of the Ulama Authority of the kingdom said they would not oppose women driving as long as it is done in accordance with Islamic Sharia law "to avoid any problems" that might arise.

The order is also based on the negative consequences of not allowing a woman to drive a vehicle and the foreseeable advantages of allowing her to do so, according to SPA.

Up to now, women have not been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and needed a private chauffeur or a male relative to take her from one place to another.

Women's rights activists have campaigned for years to have the ban on women driving lifted, among othr reasons because it has led to the arrest of dozens of Saudi females who have dared to get behind the wheel as a form of protest.

The measure comes within the reforms that King Salman has been carrying out since he ascended to the throne in 2015, and which have brought some small improvement to the lives of Saudi women, who are still subjected to a system of being in the custody of men. 

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