(MENAFN - Arab News) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Tuesday swore in the country's first female members of the Shoura Council, along with their male counterparts, and urged them to carry out the job with responsibility.
"I am happy to meet you at the opening of the sixth Shoura session in which women are taking part for the first time. May Allah bless you all with good vision and counseling capability," the king told the Shoura members. King Abdullah said the Shoura should take its decisions after thorough discussions without any haste. "We are seeking gradual development without any (outside) pressure," he added.
He reminded the Shoura members they represent the various groups of Saudi society. "So you have to discuss all issues and topics ... with responsibility, applying your intelligence and expertise," he said, adding that the government was looking for sound decisions from the Shoura.
He also reminded the members that their membership in the Shoura was a responsibility rather than an honor.
There are 30 women in the new 150-member Shoura Council. The decision to appoint women to the body was announced in 2011 but their names were only made public last month.
The new Shoura Council will hold its first meeting on Feb. 24.
A royal decree last month amended two articles of the Shoura Law introducing a 20 percent quota for women in the council that advises the government on various social, economic and political issues, international relations, draft laws and bilateral agreements.
Shoura President Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh commended King Abdullah for his support to develop the council.
Also yesterday, new Riyadh Gov. Prince Khaled bin Bandar and deputy governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah took oath of office in front of the king.