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Bill to let Kuwait women vote

Last updated on: May 17, 2004 14:53 IST

The government in the conservative Gulf Arab state of Kuwait has embarked on a new effort to grant women full political rights, reports the BBC.

But Parliament has to approve the bill passed by Council of Ministers, which allows women to vote and to stand for election.  A similar move was narrowly defeated in 1999 by legislators  pressure from Islamic and tribal lobbies.

Women in oil-rich Kuwait have been campaigning for the vote for decades.  After its weekly cabinet meeting Monday,  the Council of Ministers said it hoped to amend Kuwait's 1962 election law as part of its policy of "broadening popular participation".

"In line with the government's keen interest to broaden popular participation, the Council of Ministers reviewed a draft law to amend the election law of 1962 to allow Kuwaiti women to practise their rights in voting in and contesting parliamentary elections ... and approved it," said an official statement.

The next general elections in Kuwait are scheduled for July 2007.