RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia's king is giving women the right to vote and run in local elections for the first time.
While King Abdullah's decree represents a giant leap forward for the ultraconservative kingdom, it's also highlighting the freedoms women are denied. Women remain ineligible to serve as Cabinet ministers. They are not allowed to drive, nor are they permitted to travel outside the country without permission from a male guardian.
Even the king's decree about political roles came with a qualifier. It won't apply until 2015. The next round of elections is scheduled for Thursday.
One prominent Saudi feminist asks: "Why not tomorrow?"
And an activist who defied the ban on women driving earlier this year says: "We didn't ask for politics, we asked for our basic rights."
King Abdullah made the announcement in a speech to his advisory assembly on Sunday, after consulting with the nation's top clerics.