- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2006


Women vote, contest for office for first time

KUWAIT CITY — Women cast ballots here yesterday for the first time in a by-election for a municipal council seat, less than a year after winning full political rights in the oil-rich Persian Gulf state. Two women were among eight candidates running for the seat in the district of Salmiya, about 10 miles southeast of the capital.

“It’s certainly a historical moment for me. I felt very happy while casting my vote,” Afaf Abdullah, a pharmacist, said outside a polling station. Voting began slowly in the morning and picked up slightly in the afternoon but generally remained low.

Official figures showed that by 4 p.m., the general turnout was 17 percent, and 15 percent — about 2,500 — of eligible female voters cast ballots. Voting was expected to pick up before polling stations closed at 8 p.m.


Olmert wants coalition with Labor to draw lines

JERUSALEM — Israel’s new government began to take shape yesterday as acting prime minister and Kadima party leader Ehud Olmert announced that he would seek a coalition with Labor to fix the borders of the Jewish state.

The announcement came as coma-stricken Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who blazed a trail for Mr. Olmert’s project by pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip last year, suffered a fresh setback hours before he was to undergo skull surgery.

After his party’s victory in general elections last week, Mr. Olmert said he will set the final borders of Israel by 2010, with or without agreement from the Palestinian Authority.

Weekly notes …

Iran announced yesterday the successful test-firing of a land-to-sea missile, the latest escalation in Persian Gulf war games amid rising tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program. “The medium-range Kowsar missile is capable of combating electronic jamming systems, and it cannot be thrown off course by any instruments,” state television reported. … More than 45 Algerian Islamic fighters were preparing to surrender to authorities east of Algiers, news reports said yesterday. Members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat are scheduled to give themselves up in coming days to “benefit from measures of the charter for peace and national reconciliation,” anonymous sources said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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