Middle East

Voting starts in first Saudi poll open to women: AFP

Voting began on Saturday in Saudi Arabia's first elections open to female voters and candidates.
Male voters began to enter a polling centre in central Riyadh at about 8:00 am (0500 GMT), an AFP reporter at the scene said.
Men and women vote separately in the kingdom, where the sexes are strictly segregated, but the vote for local councillors is a tentative step towards easing restrictions that are among the world's tightest on women.
Fewer than 10 men had arrived to cast early ballots at the centre visited by AFP.
After checking their names on sheets of paper hanging on the wall and verifying their eligibility with elections staff, each voter made his choice on a ballet paper which they dropped into a transparent box.
Polls close at 5:00 pm.

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