Woman candidate wins seat in Bahrain’s lower chamber

September 12, 2011

Sawsan Al Taqawi

Sawsan Al Taqawi made history in Bahrain by becoming on Sunday evening the second woman to reach the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.

The candidate in the parliament by-elections scheduled for September 24 was declared winner by Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, after her four opponents pulled out of the race.

“Following the decisions of the candidates Ahmad Salem Al Sherooqi, Nabeel Ali Al Lababidi, Yusuf Abdul Rahim Janahi and Abdul Salam Al Mannai to withdraw from the race, I declare Sawsan Hajji Ghuloom Taqawi, the only candidate remaining in the race, as the winner of the Second Constituency of the Northern Governorate,” Shaikh Khalid said.

Sawsan this week said that she was not deterred by a smear campaign against her and pledged to remain on course.

“I have been under tremendous pressure to withdraw my candidacy, and now my posters and billboards are being defaced,” she said. “It is a clear message that I should withdraw, but I am moving on. I am writing a letter to the head of the elections committee to detail how I have been targeted,” she said.

However, Al Taqawi did not say who could behind the campaign to force her out or whether she was targeted as a woman.

Bahrain is scheduled to hold the legislative by-elections in two weeks to elect the 18 lawmakers who will replace the former representatives of Al Wefaq society who pulled out of the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament in February to protest against the way the authorities dealt with protestors in February.

Since the first parliamentary elections held in 2002 following a three-decade constitutional hiatus, only one woman, Lateefa Al Gaood, won in 2006 after running unchallenged in her constituency in the Southern Governorate. Lateefa reiterated her win in 2010 after she again ran unchallenged in the quadrennial elections.

The upper chamber of the parliament whose 40 members are appointed by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa has 11 women, including Nada Haffadh, the former health minister.

Bahrain is represented in Washington, London and Beijing by three women ambassadors.




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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