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Kuwait to speed consideration of women's voting rights law

[JURIST] Members of Kuwait's parliament [official website in Arabic; background video in English] Monday agreed to speed up consideration of a government-proposed law that would give Kuwaiti women the right to vote. No specific date for debate was set, however. The agreement came as several hundred Kuwaiti women demonstrated outside the country's parliament building. An earlier bill giving Kuwaiti women the right to vote was narrowly defeated in 1999; the government is pressing the latest version of the legislation to bring statutory law in line with the Kuwaiti constitution [text in English], which proclaims gender equality. Expediting debate on women's voting rights has been opposed by tribal leaders and by the Islamic Bloc politic grouping, which has said the issue is not important for the majority of Kuwaitis. As the law currently stands, only 15 percent Kuwait's 950,000 citizens will be eligible to vote in the next round of legislative elections slated for July 2007. AFP has more. The Kuwait Embassy in Washington provides background on women and women's rights in Kuwait.

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