Liberal candidate confident she will beat religious alliance in parliamentary elections

July 21, 2010
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A liberal candidate in the 2010 parliamentary elections expressed confidence that she would overcome competition from an alliance of two religious societies in her constituency.

“I am not concerned about the alliance between the Islamic Menbar and Al Asala since neither of them has given importance to women or has ever fielded woman candidates,” Muneera Fakhroo said. “I expect to get more women’s votes this time and therefore to carry the constituency,” said the university professor who was narrowly beaten in 2006.

Muneera and her society, the National Democratic Action Society (Waad), the most liberal political formation in Bahrain, then said that they could have won the constituency if there had not been tremendous influences on the voters that tilted the outcome towards Salah Ali, the head of the Islamic Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, who later became the lower chamber’s deputy speaker.

Muneera initially was reluctant to run, but under pressure from supporters, she eventually decided to contest again in the polls.

“This time, I am adopting a new strategy that will ensure that votes are not geared towards other candidates,” she said. “I will rely a lot on the young men and women who were too young to vote in 2006, but who now have the right to cast ballots. These people are much more open on the world than other categories and may make the distinction between genuine candidates and those who are simply vying for positions,” she said.

Muneera explained that she would use social networking, including Facebook and blogs, to communicate with the electorate and explain her platform.

Her election team would include young men and women from her constituency and from other areas.

“Girls and women have the opportunity to enter homes and talk with women whereas men will explain my platform in majlises and places frequented by other men,” Muneera said.

The campaign will be funded by a special budget made up of her own finances and contributions from Waad.

Waad, which boycotted the polls in 2002 and failed to win any seat in 2006, said that it was fielding three candidates this year. Beside Muneera, Ibrahim Shareef, the society’s secretary general, and Sami Al Siyadi, a lawyer, will be running.

No date has been set for the polls yet, but they are most likely to be held in mid-October. Candidates who secure more than 50 percent in the first round are declared winners. A second round is held one week later between the top two achievers in case no candidate gets 50 per cent of the votes.

         

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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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