2005 News Story

Two Saudi women make history with JCCI election wins

Two Saudi women, Lama Al-Sulaiman and Nashwa Taher, have made history by winning seats on the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry board of directors, the Arab News reported today.

The results of the highly competitive elections surprised many, with the Lejeddah group – which included Al-Sulaiman and Taher – winning 12 seats. Although 17 women ran in the poll, no one expected them to win. This is the first time a woman has ever been elected to the JCCI board of directors. Previously, women were permitted to vote in JCCI elections but could not run as candidates.

The Lejeddah group ran on a seven-point platform: Developing Jeddah’s economic environment, supporting small establishments, reviewing and facilitating government procedures, supporting businesswomen, supporting Saudization, supporting the chamber’s initiatives nationally and internationally, and developing the chamber administratively and technically, according to the Arab News.

The final election results were announced yesterday. The results had been anticipated on Tuesday, but were delayed by one day due to the record voter turnout. 

Seven of the 12 newly elected members are new to the board, while five served on the previous board.  The Ministry of Commerce will appoint the remaining six members of the 18-member board. This year’s election was notable in that it was the first to include female candidates, included the largest number of candidates to have the largest number of candidates and attracting the largest-ever number of voters.