Bahrain votes in parliamentary election runoff

The election is Bahrain's second since pro-democracy protests erupted in 2011.

    Bahrain votes in parliamentary election runoff
    The country's opposition claimed voter turnout in the first round of voting did not exceed 30 percent [File: Reuters]

    Bahrainis are casting their ballots in parliamentary and municipal runoffs on Saturday, despite a boycott by the Gulf monarchy's opposition.

    Polls opened at 8am local time (05:00 GMT) and close at 8pm (17:00 GMT).

    A record 67 percent of eligible voters participated in last week's first round, according to election officials.

    However, the opposition claimed that the turnout did not exceed 30 percent.

    Some 365,467 are eligible to vote in the parliamentary elections, while 285,911 can participate in the municipal polls.

    Only nine out the 40 parliamentary seats and seven out of the 30 municipal seats up for grabs were won in the first round of voting, on November 24.

    The nine parliamentary winners included two sitting legislators and two women.

    The election is Bahrain's second since pro-democracy protests erupted in the country in 2011, inspired by the Arab Spring uprising.

    In June, the outgoing legislature passed a contested bill on political rights, a step the opposition said was aimed at barring leaders and members of dissolved political parties from running in the vote.

    Bahrain is also grappling with a troubled economy and is burdened by debt.

    In recent weeks, Bahrain has accused regional rivals Qatar and Iran of attempting to influence elections and voter turnout.

    Official results are expected to be announced on Sunday.

    SOURCE: News agencies