Saudi Arabia allows women to drive vehicles in the kingdom

Saudi king issues decree allowing women to drive
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive vehicles in the kingdom in what is seen as the latest step in a series of social and economic reforms being carried out in the country.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had, in an order addressed to the Minister of the Interior, referred to the  negative consequences of not allowing women to drive vehicles and the positive aspects of allowing them to do so, "taking into consideration the application of the necessary legal controls and adherence to them".
"We adopt the application of the provisions of the Traffic Law and its Executive Regulations - including the issuance of driving licenses - to both males and females, and to form a high-level committee of ministries of (internal affairs, finance, labor and social development) to study the necessary arrangements for enforcement," he said.
The decree said the ministerial body must submit its recommendations on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and ensure full implementation of the order by June 2018.
The  ban on women driving vehicles was a major social issue in the kingdom, with no law or religious edict actually prohibiting it. The matter was extensively debated in the government, the media and in social circles.
The decree referred to the fact that the majority of the Council of Senior Scholars agreed that women driving was not prohibited by religion, and therefore they did not oppose allowing them to drive in principle.
“The scholars see no reason not to allow women to drive as long as there are legal and regulatory guarantees to avoid the pretexts (that those against women driving had in mind), even if they are unlikely to happen,” said the decree.
The announcement was welcomed around the kingdom and also across the world.


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