Saudi official axed over king image with 'Star Wars' icon

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"Our leadership thinks that this is the right time to do this change because now in Saudi Arabia we have a young, dynamic, open society", he told reporters.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency and state TV reported the news late Tuesday evening local time, saying a royal order was issued for both men and women to be issued drivers' licenses.

We take into consideration (or we study) the pros of allowing women to drive and the cons of banning them from driving, while taking into account the necessary legal rules and adhering to them.

Positive reactions quickly poured in from inside the kingdom and around the world, with the U.S. State Department welcoming the move as "a great step in the right direction".

"On this cherished anniversary of the unification of our dear country, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we assert its effective and influential status", the prince said in his speech.

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The plan to allow women to drive is still developing, however, as Saudi Arabia does not now have any legal methods by which women can obtain licenses or learn how to drive.

Beyond the effects it could have on Saudi Arabia's image overseas, letting women drive could help the Saudi economy.

"Low oil prices have limited the government jobs that many Saudis have long relied on, and the kingdom is trying to push more citizens into gainful employment, including women". Critics took to Twitter to denounce the decision, accusing the government of "bending the verses of Sharia". The king and his son have also opened the country to more entertainment and fun.

He stressed he had meant no offence to the king, seen widely as the architect of Saudi Arabia's modernisation.