Women join Oman council

Sultan Qaboos, the Omani leader, yesterday appointed two women as part of an 82-member consultative Shura Council following an election seen as unique in the conservative Gulf Arab region.

The Sultan chose all 82 delegates from among nominees elected by 51,000 selected Omanis in an October poll that allowed women across the country to run for office and cast ballots for the first time.

Oman is the only Gulf Arab state to allow women to run for office and vote in consultative council elections. The official Omani news agency, ONA, named the women as Taibah bint Mohammad al-Mawali and Shakour bint Mohammed al-Ghamari.

They were the same two appointed to the council in November 1994, becoming the first women to serve in the assembly. In that Shura poll, only women from Muscat province had been permitted to stand.

- Reuters, Muscat