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Saudi Consultative Council Refuses to Discuss Female Driving Issue Despite Protests | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- A member of Majlis al Shura (Consultative Council) in Saudi Arabia objected on Sunday against the Council General Committee’s refusal to discuss the recommendation by a member to allow women to drive in the Kingdom.

Dr. Khalil al Khalil said the Council’s latest decision meant it was dissociating itself from its requirements to develop society and respond to its needs. He saw no reason why the discussion of an issue which has deeply divided Saudi society should not take place. He also pointed out that the General Committee could not decide on behalf of all Council members. In the end, he said, it was the entire Council who would have to take the appropriate decision.

Given that Council members were knowledgeable enough to be able to direct society and advice government, Dr. Khalili indicated that he would have preferred to see the advisory board confront the issue instead of delaying matters. He also questioned what members were worried about, given that the essential role of parliamentary bodies around the world was to debate relevant issues. “Is the matter related exclusively to the debate about women driving or is it about favoring one group over the others who have different cultural backgrounds and perspectives?”

For his part, the Chairman of the Shura Council, Dr. Saleh bin Humayed, said the general committee debate the suggestion by member Mohammed al Zulfah to allow women to drive and chose to delegate the final decision to the chairman who would be the sole official to look into the matter.