Saudi King: Women Can Vote in Four Years

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Saudi King Abdullah announced Sunday that women will be allowed to vote in local elections, beginning in 2015 -- a move praised by the Obama administration.

The Saudi monarch also said he would appoint women to his all-male advisory council, but they would not be allowed to serve as cabinet ministers.

"We didn't ask for politics, we asked for our basic rights," said Maha al-Qahtani, an education ministry employee who defied the driving ban earlier this year, the Associated Press reported.

Saudi women are forbidden to drive, and any woman traveling abroad must be accompanied by a male guardian.

Religious police keep a watchful eye on women in public, making sure they fully adhere to Sharia (Islamic) law in their dress and behavior.

While Sunday's announcement is a major change for Saudi Arabia, there's still a long way to go before women in the Islamic kingdom enjoy the same rights as their Western counterparts.

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