[Representational Pic]Reuters File

Even as Saudi Arabia allows women to vote and contest elections for the first time in its history, the orthodox Islamic country has a long way to go before it allows them the freedom enjoyed by men in exercising their franchise.

The Saudi election commission has issued a strict warning to some 366 women contesting the municipal elections in the Kingdom that they must not publish their photographs or meet any male voters in public, Arab News reported on Monday.

Any violation of the bylaws will reportedly be considered an offence, punishable by one-year imprisonment or a fine of Saudi Rial 50,000 (nearly $13,335).

Election commission spokesman Judiea Al-Qahtani has also asked the female candidates to appoint representatives or contract special companies to manage their campaigns.

He has reportedly emphasised that the women candidates must abide by the Shariah law, and so they must not meet any men in their election headquarters. 

Women were allowed to register to vote in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time in August. The 12 December elections will appoint new members to the municipal councils in Saudi Arabia.

It will be for the first time when the women in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will get to vote and even elect a female representative to the municipal councils, which have limited powers in the absolute monarchy.

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