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Mon 4 Aug 2008 11:33 AM

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Shura Council shake-up planned

The next session of council set to see numbers increase to 180, more female advisors.

The number of Shura Council members is expected to be increased from the present 150 to 180 in its next session, while the number of female advisors is expected to increase from six to 11.

The coming Shura session is likely to see the end of tenure of at least half of the members, according to a report in the Saudi Gazette, which quoted sources close to the council.

The current six advisors are Dr Omaimah Al-Jalahmah, Dr. Nihad Al-Jashi, Dr. Bahijah Azzi, Dr. Wafa Taibah, Dr. Norah Al-Yousif, and Dr. Norah Al-Adwan, the newspaper added.

The Shura Council enjoys the same powers as western parliaments. It is entitled to enact laws, oversee the functions of governmental agencies and investigate public cases.

The Shura Council started its sessions with 60 members. But in the next session, the number was increased to 90, then to 120 in the third session. The current number of members is 150, reported the paper.

Shura Council is headed by a Speaker. The King appoints the Speaker and members of the Council who are Saudi nationals by descent and upbringing, not less than 30 years of age and “well known for uprightness and competence”, said the newspaper.