Saudi Arabia to lift ban on women drivers

Yemen's Hadi sees only a military solution to crisis-Arabiya TV

The plan to allow women to drive is still developing, however, as Saudi Arabia does not now have any legal methods by which women can obtain licenses or learn how to drive.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed "Farmajo" has departed to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday following undeclared invitation by the ruler of the Kingdom.

Umm Ibrahim sits behind the wheel of her vehicle as she drives in Riyadh, an act that is banned in Saudi Arabia June 21, 2011. "Ever since Mohammed bin Salman's rise, he has fast-tracked all the changes that are needed for our country", said Marwa Afandi, a 35-year-old event planner in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

This follows many years of work by activists in Saudi Arabia to draw global attention to the restrictions, including driving despite the ban as an act of civil disobedience.

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Some ultraconservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, who wield power and influence in the judiciary and education sectors, had warned against allowing women to drive.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom next summer, fulfilling a key demand of women's rights activists who faced detention for defying the ban. Photo by Yousur Al-Hlou for The New York Times.

"Low oil prices have limited the government jobs that many Saudis have long relied on, and the kingdom is trying to push more citizens into gainful employment, including women". The committee must submit its recommendations within 30 days.

The decree said that the majority of the Council of Senior Scholars - the kingdom's top clerical body, whose members are appointed by the king - had agreed that the government could allow women to drive if done in accordance with Shariah law.

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