Al Wefaq to boycott Bahrain’s parliamentary by-elections

August 12, 2011

Al Wefaq Islamic Society on Friday afternoon said that it would not take part in the parliamentary by-elections next month.

Addressing a rally in Abu Quwa, a village to the west of Manama, Khalil Marzooq, one of the society’s top leaders, said that Al Wefaq wanted a change of the electoral constituencies and more power with the lower chamber.

“On your behalf, we have decided to boycott the by-elections,” Khalil told the partisan crowd gathered at the open air area.

More than 110,000 Bahrainis are scheduled to cast their ballots for 18 new lawmakers on September 24 to replace the MPs representing Al Wefaq who resigned in February to protest against the way the authorities handled demonstrations.

Insiders told Gulf News that the mass resignation was decided following an internal vote by the 18 former MPs.

The resignations were initially rejected by the 22 other members of the lower chamber, but were eventually accepted.

Two former MPs, Jawad Fairooz and Matar Matar, were arrested in May after their parliamentary immunities were lifted.

Both were released earlier this week and were present at Al Wefaq rally.

Al Wefaq’s decision not to dispute the elections will be a boost for independent candidates who would have had to overcome formidable challenges to beat a society whose 18 male nominees in October carried their constituencies.

Al Asala, the expression of Salafism, and the Islamic Menbar, the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, last week said that they would not field candidates in September.

Both political and religious societies fared badly in the quadrennial elections in October, losing most of the seats they held in the 2006-2010 legislative term.

“We need time to re-assess our status and to plan for the future,” members of the two societies said



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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