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Kuwaiti emir could end up ruling on women's suffrage

[JURIST] The Kuwaiti Ministry of Islamic Affairs [description in English; link to Arabic website] issued a religious edict Saturday declaring that Kuwaiti emir Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah [official profile] should have the final decision on granting women political rights if Muslim clerics disagree. According to Saturday's fatwa, "a decision by the ruler should end disputes on matters" upon which there is no religious consensus. The emir has previously been defeated in his battles with parliament to grant women the right to vote; earlier this month the parliament agreed to expedite consideration of a women's suffrage mesaure. In a few weeks Kuwait's parliament is expected to vote on a Cabinet-approved change to the 1962 election law [Kuwaiti National Assembly election law] that restricts political rights to men and prohibits female suffrage. Government supporters hope that the edict will encourage Parliament to support the measure. Women currently make up 40% of the Kuwaiti workforce. AP has more.

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