Historic Day in Kuwait as Women Vote for the First Time

The women were all smiles as they lined up to vote in Kuwait today.

A Kuwaiti woman looks for her name on a list that will designate where she will cast her vote for municipal council elections at a polling station in Roumaithiya, Kuwait April 4, 2006. Women made history in Kuwait on Tuesday by voting and running for office for the first time in a local by-election after the conservative, U.S.-allied Gulf state granted them suffrage last year. (REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee)

Polling stations are open in Kuwait today in the first election including women in the conservative country’s history:

Two women are also among eight candidates running for the seat in the Salmiya district, south of the capital.

The 28,000 eligible voters, 60% of whom are women, are voting in segregated polling booths, a condition demanded by Islamist and tribal MPs.

Women were granted equal political rights last year and will vote in full legislative polls in 2007.

Voting was reported to have begun slowly, as Tuesday is a normal working day in the conservative, oil-rich state.

Some argue that the Muslim country of Kuwait, a strong US ally, is becoming too progressive with its policies.

A Kuwaiti woman casts her ballot for a single municipal council election at a polling station in Rourmaithiya, Kuwait April 4, 2006. Women made history in Kuwait on Tuesday by voting and running for office for the first time in a local by-election after the conservative, U.S.-allied Gulf state granted them suffrage last year. (REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee)

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