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Saudis elect 17 women in landmark local council polls

The election was the first in which women could vote and run as candidates.

A Saudi woman casts her ballot in a polling station in the coastal city of Jeddah, on 12 December, 2015. Picture: AFP.

RIYADH - Saudi Arabians voted 17 women into public office in municipal elections in the conservative Islamic kingdom on Saturday, the first to allow female participation, a state-aligned news site reported on Sunday before all official results were announced.

The election was the first in which women could vote and run as candidates, a landmark step in a country where women are barred from driving and are legally dependent on a male relative to approve almost all their major life decisions.

Sabq.org, a news website affiliated with the autocratic monarchy's Interior Ministry, reported that a total of 17 women had been elected in various parts of the country.

Some results had been announced on the official Saudi Press Agency, including the victories of four women.