Fatima Salman is first Gulf woman elected to a municipal council

October 31, 2010

Fatima Salman - BNA


Fatima Salman has set a new standard for Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as the first woman to be elected to a municipal council.

Fatima, an independent candidate, achieved her feat in style in Muharraq, Bahrain’s second largest city and the bastion of liberal and Sunni Islamist societies.

“I had a strong feeling that I would win and I am grateful to all those who have supported me,” she said, tears in her eyes, a few minutes after she was declared winner.

“I am the first Gulf woman to be elected to a municipal council and Bahraini women do deserve this distinction.”

Few people had expected her to win because she was a woman and up to a few days before the elections, several comments indicated that the 2010 election results would be for women a sad repeat of those of 2006.

In that year not one woman was elected and only Latifa Al Gaoud made it to the lower chamber after running unopposed in the sixth constituency of the Southern Governorate.

Fatima said that she was not bothered by discouraging statements about the male-dominated mindset that might make it impossible for women to win.

She launched a significant campaign to garner support built on her past achievements as a community activist.

She topped the list of nine candidates in the first round on October 23, scoring 28.8 per cent. Her nearest rival, Mohammad Al Sinan, had 20.6 per cent of the votes.

The female candidate again beat him on October 30 in the run-off between the two top contenders, securing 1,492 votes and 52.5 per cent of the votes.

Fatima said that she would savour her victory for a few days before committing herself fully to her new job.

Bahrain has five municipal councils, one in each governorate.



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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