Kuwait Denies Voting Rights to Women
KUWAIT - A parliamentary committee has voted down a bill to give women the right to vote and run for the men-only parliament of this oil-rich emirate, the Al-Qabas daily reported.
The house legislative panel, which is dominated by Muslim deputies, based its unanimous vote Sunday on a religious fatwa, or decree, by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the daily said.
The ministry clerics deemed it was un-Islamic for women to cast ballots or become lawmakers.
A second vote will be taken by the 50 lawmakers of the National Assembly, but it is unlikely that the outcome will be any different. No date has been set for the vote or a debate on the bill in the parliament, which is dominated by traditional pro-government deputies and religious extremists.
Lubna Seif Abbas, one of the few women's rights activists in the country, said she was "very sad" about the panel's decision, but not surprised.
"Maybe we need to change our tactics, maybe we have been too polite and mindful of other people's feelings," the 33-year-old U.S.-educated woman told The Associated Press.