Saudi Arabia to change law to allow women to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia will soon have the right to drive, according to a royal decree issued by the country’s King Salman.

The kingdom has long been the only state in the world where women are prohibited from driving, and the longstanding ban has been the subject of extensive protests in and outside the country.

In the royal decree issued on Tuesday, King Salman ordered that a ministerial body would be formed to advise on the change within the next 30 days.

They are scheduled to implement the new rules by June 2018.

Saudi women have been fighting for the right to drive since the 1990s, in a long-running campaign that saw some illegally taking the wheel, sometimes being arrested and jailed for doing so.

“This could be described as a turning point in the position of women in Saudi Arabia, which is a society considered by many as a closed society and a traditionalist one,” Sky correspondent Abdelrahim El-Farsi said.

The decree referred to the “negative consequences of not allowing women to drive the vehicle and the positive aspects of allowing it”.

It added that the “majority” of senior scholars viewed allowing women to drive as legitimate.