Five NGOs and 292 volunteers to monitor Bahrain national polls

October 7, 2010

Justice minister checking polling station - BNA

Around 300 people, four NGOs and Bahrain Human Rights National Commission will be monitoring Bahrain’s elections on October 23, the justice minister has said.

The 292 monitors are all independent and not affiliated with any political formation or candidate running for a seat in the lower chamber or municipal council, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa said.

The four NGOs are Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS), Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) and Bahrain Hiwar Society.

BHRS and BTS monitored the elections held in 2002 following a three-decade constitutional hiatus. They also monitored the next national polls in 2006 in which societies that boycotted the 2002 exercise to ask for more constitutional reforms took part.

According to the justice ministry overseeing the elections, the monitors will be free to move between the 40 constituency polling stations and the 10 general polling stations in the kingdom.

Five parliamentary candidates, all incumbent lawmakers, have carried their constituencies after their challengers pulled out.

The ministry had earlier said that it wanted independent monitors to ensure the highest standards of neutrality in observing the polling procedures.

It also said that it would not allow a foreign monitoring of the quadrennial elections on grounds of local aptitudes and sovereignty.

BHRS is currently in a bitter standoff with the social development ministry after both parties took their dispute to court.

The ministry last month charged the rights watchdog with adopting a sectarian agenda, supporting only one segment of the Bahraini society and not complying with regulations in its dealings with the competent authorities, charges that the society rejected. The ministry eventually dissolved the board and appointed an interim administrator until a general assembly is held.

The BHRS board took the matter to court and asked to be reinstated. However, on Wednesday, the social development ministry filed a case of no-cooperation with the society after it refused to hand in the office keys and documents to the appointed administrator.

The ministry said that it had sought the cooperation of the dissolved board members, but they refused on the grounds their case is being reviewed by the court and handing the keys and documents to the administrator amounted to accepting their ousting.






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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