Saudi king appoints women to parliament for first time
Saudi King Abdullah has for the first time appointed 30 women to the country's parliament, according to a royal decree carried by the official news agency SPA on Friday, dpa reported.
The decree gives women a fifth of the Shura Council, which is the formal parliament of the conservative, oil-rich kingdom but has very limited powers.
All its 150 members are appointed by the king.
SPA quoted the decree as saying that part of the council's hall will be allocated to the women members only.
They will also have their own entry into the hall, added the agency.
In 2011, Abdullah pledged to allow women to run for and vote in municipal elections, the country's only polls, as part of his reform drive.
The next election is set for 2015.
Saudi Arabia remains the only predominantly Muslim country that has yet to allow women the right to vote.
Saudi women are also not allowed to drive, and cannot travel unless they are accompanied by a male guardian or are over 45 years of age.