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New Zealand Scraps Anti-woman Rule for Country's Head of State
Source: www.xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: New Zealand
Created: Dec 17, 2013

The New Zealand Parliament on Wednesday scrapped the last archaic barrier that would prevent a woman taking over as the country's head of state.

The Royal Succession Bill put in place changes that were agreed in 2011 by the 16 realms that shared Britain's Queen as head of state, Justice Minister Judith Collins said in a statement.

"These changes are positive for New Zealand's system of government. This bill improves and modernizes the rules of succession and helps ensure the monarchy remains relevant to our modern society," Collins said.

The bill changed the royal succession rules so that the order of succession would no longer be based on gender and would allow an elder daughter to precede a younger son as heir to the throne.

This rule would apply to any children in the line of succession born after Oct. 28, 2011, including Prince George of Cambridge, who was born earlier this year.

It also allowed a person married to a Roman Catholic to accede to the throne, and restricted those who needed the sovereign's permission to marry, which currently applied to all members of the royal family, to be limited only to the first six in line to the throne.

The changes would come into force simultaneously with the other realms at a yet-to-be agreed date.

The current queen was the elder of two daughters and had no brothers when she succeeded to the throne.

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