x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The right woman won

Most people might not know of the rich history of women leaders in the Gulf ¿ the much-loved Queen of ancient Sheba being an exception ¿ but even then, Saturday¿s quiet victory in Bahrain should not go unnoticed.

Most people might not know of the rich history of women leaders in the Gulf - the much-loved Queen of ancient Sheba being an exception - but even then, Saturday's quiet victory in Bahrain should not go unnoticed. The day ushered in fortuitous news; the Gulf state of Bahrain saw 71,000 vote in parliamentary elections, while 125,000 took to the polls at the municipal elections.

But what made these elections distinctive was that the region's women can chalk up yet another milestone. Despite misgivings about Bahrain's elections, which were relatively transparent but entrenched local divisions, the Gulf now has its first woman elected to a municipal council: Fatima Salman won a contested seat in Bahraini municipal council elections of the Muharraq constituency, east of Manama.

She has made history by doing so.

While other closely watched female candidates such as Munira Fakhro, who stood for the Waad party, didn't make it through to the final round, one other female candidate did. In constituency six, Lateefa al Gaood, who ran as an independent in a Sunni stronghold, was returned to office. Perhaps the Queen of Sheba would have been proud.