Menbar society says it is not ready for by-elections

August 5, 2011
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The Islamic Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is not planning to take part in the parliamentary by-elections next month, one of its leaders has said.

“We are still in the process of assessing and addressing our performance last year and we need time to be ready again for elections,” Ali Ahmad, and MP for Al Menbar, said.

The society, one of Bahrain’s two major Sunni political-society societies, suffered a shock set-back in the quadrennial votes in a string of losses over two rounds on October 23 and 30. The crushing defeat cut the presence of MPs representing the society in the lower chamber from seven in 2006-2010 to only two in the 2010 – 2014 term.

In 2002 – 2006, the society had six MPs and in this year’s pre-election campaigns it said it was confident it would boost its seats in the 40-member lower chamber to eight.

The devastating defeat was compounded when Abdul Latif Al Shaikh, the society chairman and parliamentary party leader for 2006 – 2010, was not re-elected.

Society members attributed Al Menbar’s losses in the elections to its failure to strike a deal with Al Asala, the other major Sunni political and religious society and the expression of Salafism in Bahrain. The two Islamist societies worked closely in 2006 and secured 15 seats. “Allegations that we do not wish to take part in the by-elections in order to avoid clashing again with Al Asala are not true,” Ali Ahmad said. “In fact, we will support any competent candidate from Al Asala or any other society who will be an advantageous addition to the lower chamber. We want to boost democracy practices,” he said. According to the lawmaker, Al Menbar and Al Asala had not held any meeting to coordinate their positions on the by-elections. More than 111,000 Bahrainis will on September 24 elect 18 new lawmakers to replace the MPs from Al Wefaq who resigned in February to protest against the way the authorities handled demonstrations. The second round to be held in constituencies where no candidate achieved more than 50 per cent of the votes will be held on October 1.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/menbar-society-says-it-is-not-ready-for-by-elections-1.847256

         

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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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