Opposition gain in Bahrain election

Early results show opposition gains in Bahrain's parliamentary elections.


    The main Shia group has allied itself with Sunni liberals and left-of-centre candidates

    Some 295,000 voters were entitled to elect 39 MPs in an equal number of constituencies. There are a total of 206 candidates, including 17 women. Turnout reached 72 per cent.
     
    One seat in the 40-strong chamber has already gone to Latifa al-Qouhoud, who stood unopposed in her constituency, making her the first woman MP in the Gulf state's history.

    The INAA won 15 seats of the parliament. 

    Shias confident

    Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the Islamic National Accord Association (INAA) and a candidate in the mostly Shia northern town of Jid Hafas, had criticised the conduct of the election saying "there should be more ballot boxes".

    However, he said that the high turnout "proves the popularity" of the INAA, the main Shia opposition group.

    Salman had predicted that the association would take "at least 13 seats in the first round" and that all 17 candidates should win after the second round of polling on December 2.

    He said: "If this doesn't happen, [we would assume that] it will be because of fraud," adding that "we will study each case separately".
      
    During the election, the main Shia group allied itself with Sunni liberals and left-of-centre candidates.

    Like the Shias, they boycotted the last legislative elections in 2002 in protest at the split of legislative powers between parliament and an equally numbered upper chamber appointed by the king which can block parliamentary initiatives.

    Saudi influence
     
    Many Shias accuse the government of plotting to maintain pro-government Sunni domination of the tiny kingdom, mainly through naturalised Bahrainis, including those coming from Saudi Arabia across the causeway linking the two countries.

    The causeway's public voting centre is one of 10 out-of-constituency ballot stations which the opposition had demanded be shut.

    Several Saudi registered cars were seen parked outside the polling station, and an INAA representative at the centre said many dual citizens came from Saudi Arabia just to vote.

    On Friday, some 2,000 demonstrators called for a probe into an alleged plot aimed at marginalising the Shia majority and demanded the resignation of Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the country's long-serving prime minister.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.