Bahrain to hold parliamentary elections on October 23

August 8, 2010
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Bahrain on Sunday said that it would hold its third parliamentary and municipal elections on October 23.

The announcement was made by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa as he chaired the meeting of the cabinet.

The first elections were held in 2002 following a three-decade constitutional hiatus and the second nation-wide polls were organised in 2006.

King Hamad urged all Bahrainis to be part of the voting process, saying that elections were a constitutional right to express views and to select representatives in the parliament.

The people’s contribution to decision making and nation-building guarantees the continuation of the democratic process and reinforces serious work to provide more outstanding services, adequate housing and economic competiveness, King Hamad, 60, said, according to Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

“These are national goals that unite us and are used as benchmarks of the success of our bicameral parliament in their implementation in cooperation with the government for the sake of the people and the country,” he said.

King Hamad who has been ruling the country since March 1999 following the death of his father Shaikh Eisa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, said that Bahrainis should not wait for the future and should make it a reality in the present time.

The announcement of the date will spark more intense activities by all political societies and, to a lesser degree, independent candidates, to seek enough votes to win seats in the 40-member lower chamber.

Only one officially registered political society, Amal, has yet to announce whether it would be fielding candidates in the elections that it boycotted in 2006.

Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest society and parliamentary bloc, said that it could have up to 24 candidates, although 18 looked a more likely number. The society had 17 lawmakers in the 2006-2010 parliament, and has now to confront several challenges as it draws its list for the new polls after it gave people a greater voice in deciding the names of possible contenders.

The other two societies represented in the parliament, Al Asala, the flagship of Salafism in Bahrain, and the Islamic Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, have not finalized their lists either, amid dwindling expectations that either of them would have women.

Waad, the largest liberal society, said that it would have three candidates, inclsing one woman, Muneera Fakharoo, a university professor who narrowly lost in the 2006 run-off against an Islamist contender.

         

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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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