Election monitoring volunteers must not be members of political formations

June 17, 2010
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Volunteers who will monitor Bahrain’s forthcoming parliamentary and municipal elections will not be members of any political society, the head of a rights watchdog said.

“We will have 200 people to monitor the elections and one of the rules for their enrolment in the programme is that they are neutral and do not belong to any of the political societies in Bahrain,” Abdullah Al Durazi, the chairman of Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), said. “The purpose is to make sure that their ideologies and views do not influence their work during the voting process,” he said.

Monitors will also have to be above 20 years old and will undergo a special training in July, months before the elections are held in autumn.

“We will have many of the people who monitored the elections in 2002 and 2006, but we will most certainly need more volunteers to cover the voting,” Al Durazi said.

BHRS and Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS) were requested to monitor the elections eight years, the first to be held in Bahrain after a three-decade hiatus. Both societies were again invited to observe the candidates’ campaigning and the voting process in 2006 in which societies that boycotted the 2002 elections to ask for more constitutional rights took part.

The societies later issued a report that included a series of observations and recommendations for the next elections.

 Bahrain Human Rights Society is the oldest rights formation in the country. Bahrain has 18 registered political societies. Only three, Al Wefaq (Shiites), Al Asala (Salafis) and the Islamic Menbar (Muslim Brotherhood) have representatives in the 40-seat lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.

         

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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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