44 sign up for parliamentary by-elections in Bahrain

August 24, 2011

Two days into the parliamentary by-elections registration process, 44 candidates have signed up their names in the four dedicated posts.

However, five of the 18 constituencies where the by-elections will be held on September 24 have had only one candidate, which could rule out the need to have voters cast their ballots.

The three-day registration process was to end on Wednesday and candidates may pull out up to 10 days before the elections.

Around 180,000 Bahrainis are scheduled to elect 18 lawmakers to replace the MPs who represented Al Wefaq after their election in October and who resigned in late February to protest against the way the authorities handled demonstrators at the epicentre of the protests.

The by-elections have become a hot issue in Bahrain after Al Wefaq Islamic Society said that it would boycott them.

Other political formations, including the National Democratic Action Society “Waad” and the Progressive Democratic Tribune said that they would not field candidates next month, demanding a better political atmosphere.

Calls for boycott

Touring registration centres, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, said that the by-elections would be held according to schedule and that calls for their boycott or pressure on candidates to withdraw their names would not change polling plans.

“There will be no tolerance by the ministry towards those who abuse religious tribunes in the houses of God for political purposes,” he said.

“People are free to express their views, but it must be through regular and legal channels. Vibrant democracy always moves forward and has no limits, but it can be achieved through active participation and constant building. It cannot be through boycotts or through dividing people,” he said, referring to those who called for the boycott of the polling next month.

Al Wefaq and Waad boycotted the parliamentary elections in 2002, but took part in the quadrennial voting in 2006 and 2010 to elect 40 lawmakers to the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.




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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