Local EU Statement on the 2015 Municipal Elections in Saudi Arabia (16/12/2015)

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Members States Heads of Mission in Saudi Arabia

On 12 December 2015, for the first time in its history, Saudi Arabia held municipal elections in which both men and women could vote and be elected, marking an important milestone for the women's empowerment in the country.

We welcome this historic development and congratulate all the women and men that participated and won seats in the 284 municipal councils across the Kingdom. We congratulate in particular over 900 Saudi women who ran and participated as candidates.

An impressive turnout of women voters and the fact that 20 women won seats in this election are both highly significant.

The participation of women represents an important step forward in Saudi Arabia towards a more inclusive political and electoral process. We commend all the women who have taken the initiative to register and vote, thus assuming their legitimate place in public life.

The European Union and its Member States recognise that challenges remain and will continue to support initiatives aimed at furthering gender equality and female empowerment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.