Election hopeful says not deterred by banner ripped up

September 30, 2010

Al Hamar's ripped up banner

A parliamentary candidate whose campaign poster has been ripped up has vowed to keep up the drive to reach the lower chamber.

Ghazi Al Hamar said that the targeting of his poster was most likely based on concerns about his intention to fight sectarianism and enhance services for the community.

He did not however mention who could be behind the spate of vandalism against his banner or those of other liberal candidates.

Several posters have been vandalized or removed after the formal launch of the election campaigns for the 35 remaining seats of the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.

Five candidates, all sitting members, have been re-elected after their constituency opponents pulled out and the official commission approved their victories.

The winners, three independents and two Islamists, include Lateefa Al Gaood, the first woman to reach an elected parliament in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. In 2006, she was also elected unopposed after her challenger withdrew.

Islamists dominated the 2006-2010 lower chamber and the chances for a new look are dimming after only nine women applied to run and political formations refused to openly support independent candidates.

Campaigning in Bahrain, like in Kuwait, involves putting up posters and signboards dominated by the picture of the candidate and a short message. The use of the Bahraini flag is not allowed, but several candidates have added pictures of mosques.

Most election hopefuls also set up large tents where they meet potential voters and discuss developments related to the quadrennial elections. Receptions are at times organized to attract constituents and win their hearts and minds.

Some candidates seek to host influential members of the community for a public display of their support. However, government officials are barred from attending the tent gatherings to avoid misinterpretations of support.

In the 2006 campaign trail, some tents were torched in Muharraq and Riffa, resulting in losses of thousands of dollars, but no-one was arrested.

Bahraini men and women will vote on October 23 to elect their 40 representatives at the lower chamber and 40 municipal councilors.

A second round in constituencies where no winner secured more than 50 per cent of the votes will be held on October 30.

Ali Salman, the head of Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest society and parliamentary bloc in the outgoing lower chamber, on Wednesday said that he expected his society to carry 18 seats.




About the author

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

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