Al Asala defends decision to support independent candidates

July 22, 2010
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Al Asala, Bahrain’s second largest parliamentary bloc, has defended its decision to support independent elections candidates as part of its strategy to “serve the nation.”

The society, the flagship of Salafism in Bahrain, has a major alliance with the Islamic Menbar, the third largest parliamentary bloc in the outgoing lower chamber, to work together and avoid competition by fielding candidates in separate constituencies and by supporting each other other’s nominees.

However, the Islamic Menbar with seven representatives in the 40-seat lower chamber wants the two societies to focus on their partnership and not engage in supporting independent candidates or nominees from other political formations vying for a foothold in parliament.

But, Al Asala, with eight lawmakers, far behind Al Wefaq which had 17 MPs in the 2006-20210 parliament, is keen on reinforcing its position by supporting independent candidates who would, if elected, reinforce its stances in the lower chamber or even join its ranks. A similar scenario occurred in 2006 when independent MPs said that they would be under Al Asala umbrella.

“We are ready to coordinate with candidates keen on serving Bahrain, and our coordination could be both inside and outside the parliament,” sources said on behalf of Al Asala. “A crucial element, though, is that any coordination should not in any way affect our partnership and work with the Islamic Menbar,” the sources said.

Neither of the two societies has announced the list of its candidates amid speculations that most of their representatives would run again in the quadrennial elections. No woman candidate is expected to be presented by either of the conservative societies, despite repeated calls by the Supreme Council for Women, the official agency representing women in Bahrain, and activists to empower women politically.

No date has been set for the polls amid expectations that they would be held in mid-October. Municipal elections will also be held concurrently with the legislative polls. However, people’s interest in them is not as strong as in the parliamentary 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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