Amal society links participation in elections with high parliament seat chances

May 23, 2010
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Islamic Action Society (Amal) has linked its participation in the forthcoming legislative elections with the chances of winning a seat in parliament, reports have said.

The society that appeals mainly to Shiite followers of Ayatullah Hadi Al Mudarrisi and who are known as “the Shirazi faction”, boycotted the elections in 2002 and 2006, ostensibly calling for more constitutional reforms.

Its general assembly last week re-elected its politburo, but did not announce a decision whether it would contest in the municipal or parliamentary elections expected either in October or November.

Al Wefaq won 17 seats in the 2006 elections, a landslide victory that had surprised most observers, including leaders of the society who had expected a maximum of 14 wins.

According to sources close to the society, Amal is currently negotiating with Al Wefaq, the largest parliamentary bloc, to allow it to win one of its “secure constituencies.”

“A delegation from the society headed by Shaikh Mohammad Ali Mahfoodh, the leader of Amal, had met Shaikh Eisa Qasem, the spiritual reference of Al Wefaq, and asked him to help Amal win a seat,” the sources said. “However, Shaikh Eisa did not give a reply,” the sources said, quoted by Al Wasat daily.

However, Amal has denied claims that it wanted to coordinate with other societies about the elections, saying that none of the statements issued about whether it would participate were not true and did not represent the society’s stance.

“We have set up a committee to study the political developments and report to the secretariat general about whether the society should participate in the elections,” the society said in a statement. “The committee has not submitted its final report yet.”

A source from Al Wefaq said that the negotiations between the two societies had not started.

Al Wefaq would offer support only outside the 18 constituencies where it is planning to field candidates, the source said. “A compromise with Amal would be to allow it to win a municipal and not a parliamentary seat.”

According to Al Wefaq source, the society would offer support to the candidate of the National democratic Action Society (WAAD) in the fourth constituency in the Central Governorate where Al Wefaq did not field a candidate.

In 2006, Al Wefaq had offered Amal one constituency, but its offer was rejected after Amal leaders insisted on four seats.

All the other registered societies have said that they will field candidates in the elections.

 

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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