Bahraini general election, 2010
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politics and government of
General elections were held in Bahrain with the first-round on 23 October 2010, and the second round on 30 October. Al-Wefaq won a plurality. The election followed controversy amidst boycotts and arrests.
The lower house of parliament, for which the election is held, has the authority to pass legislation proposed by the sovereign or the governing cabinet, as well as monitoring authority. The upper consultative council has the power to block legislation from the lower house.
The main opposition party Haq Movement and several other opposition parties such as the Wafa Party, Bahrain Freedom Movement, Khalas Movement and Islamic Action Society decided to boycott the election.
Riots were also reported after several opposition spokespersons were arrested after speaking about human rights issues in Bahrain. The head of Al Wefaq party, also said that "The way the ongoing security campaign has been handled and the rights violations that accompanied it have in one week destroyed 10 years of progress in this country."
There were also further arrests and repressions of the Shia majority. Shia political activists and international human rights watchdogs warned of a "drift back to full-blown authoritarianism." However, Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa claimed the arrests were "not linked to elections." Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Project on Middle East Democracy noted government arrests and repressions ahread of the election.
The head of the Al Wefaq party, Ali Salman, said the government should be shared with the people, in what was read as an open challenge to the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty. "It is unacceptable that power be monopolised by a single family, even one to which we owe respect and consideration. We look forward to the day when any child of the people, be they Sunni or Shia, can become prime minister."
About 292 Bahraini observers from non-governmental organizations monitored the elections, though foreign observers were not allowed.
The credibility of the election was threatened by allegations of voting problems. Al Wefaq's Sheikh Ali Salman claimed at least 890 voters were not allowed to vote in mostly Shia districts because their names were absent from electoral lists. "This is not the full number. We expect it to be higher." The party tallied up the voters who said there were not allowed to vote, in order to use these numbers to challenge to the official results. The opposition also expressed concern that the authorities used the votes of military personnel in favour of some candidates at the expense of others in an "exploitation of general positions."
Forty seats were elected on October 24, with the runoffs that were needed on October 30. A total of 127 candidates competed in the election, which was also chose municipal councils.
More thant 318,000 were eligible to vote. Head of the electoral commission and Justice Minister, Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa, gave an estimate of turnout of "at least 67 percent," less than the 72% in 2006 and 53.4% in 2002. 127 candidates stood in the election.
|Al Wefaq||Shia Islamist||18|
|Al Asalah||Sunni Salafist||3|
|Al-Menbar Islamic Society||Sunni Islamist||2|
|Source: "Independents the biggest winners". Gulf Daily News. 1 November 2010.|
|Governorate||District||Candidate's name||Affiliation||1st round||2nd round|
|2||Khalil Al Marzooq||Al Wefaq||2141||58.40%|
|3||Hadi Al Mousawi||Al Wefaq||1926||85.64%|
|4||Abduljalil Khalil||Al Wefaq||Win by default|
|5||Mohammed Mezel||Al Wefaq||1667||67.24%|
|7||Abdulmajid Al Sebea||Al Wefaq||1842||63.45%|
|8||Jameel Kadhim||Al Wefaq||2818||86.20%|
|Muharraq||1||Adel Al Maawda||Al Asalah||Win by default|
|2||Abdul Hameed Al Meer||Independent||1357||43.83%||1737||58.60%|
|3||Ali Ahmed||Al Menbar||1140||37.11%||1675||55.03%|
|4||Mahmood Al Mahmood||Independent||1904||26.41%||3418||52.58%|
|5||Isa Al Kooheji||Independent||1891||57.62%|
|6||Ali Al Asheeri||Al Wefaq||4422||83.77%|
|8||Ghanem Al Buainain||Al Asalah||2099||42.85%||2774||59.49%|
|Northern||1||Matar Ibrahim Matar||Al Wefaq||7689||85.72%|
|2||Ali Al Aswad||Al Wefaq||6577||87.71%|
|3||Abdul Hussain Al Metghawi||Al Wefaq||6523||89.98%|
|4||Hassan Al Dossari||Independent||1545||57.82%|
|5||Mohammed Majeed||Al Wefaq||5132||86.76%|
|6||Mohammed Ismail Al Ammadi||Al Menbar||3263||45.22%||3777||56.82%|
|7||Jassim Hussain||Al Wefaq||5107||59.03%|
|8||Jawad Fairuz||Al Wefaq||5954||54.99%|
|9||Hassan Sultan||Al Wefaq||8814||89.43%|
|Central||1||Salman Abdullah Salem||Al Wefaq||6175||67.49%|
|2||Abdullah Al Aali||Al Wefaq||7242||88.99%|
|3||Adnan Al Maliki||Independent||1875||45.18%||2533||59.36%|
|4||Isa Al Qadhi||Independent||3237||43.13%||3905||55.99%|
|5||Abdali Mohammed Hassan||Al Wefaq||3501||56.65%|
|6||Hassan Isa||Al Wefaq||5308||91.96%|
|7||Abdulhalim Murad||Al Asalah||3178||55.9%|
|9||Khalifa Al Dhahrani||Independent||3586||77.42%|
|Southern||1||Jassim Al Saeedi||Independent||2538||62.71%|
|3||Ahmed Al Mulla||Independent||968||30.6%||2012||71.99%|
|4||Abdullah Al Dossari||Independent||Win by default|
|5||Khamis Al Rumaihi||Independent||Win by default|
|6||Lateefa Al Gaood||Independent||Win by default|
|Source: Bahrain Commission for Legislation and Legal Opinion and Alwasat Newspaper|
Shia cleric and MP Sheikh Ali Salman lauded the result and called for a "more positive" stance from the government. "The most important message for the government is that Al-Wefaq (INAA) is the largest political association in Bahrain. The people's will must be respected and dealt with positively."
A local analyst, Obaidaly al-Obaidaly, said the press campaign that accompanied the arrests resulted in a favourable outcome for INAA. "The Shiites who were hesitant or intended to boycott the elections voted overwhelmingly in favour of Al-Wefaq, the representative of their community. Baqer al-Najar, a sociology professor at the University of Bahrain also said "The way the media handled the security situation which prevailed prior to the elections unexpectedly raised Al-Wefaq's shares. Shiites felt that they were targeted so they voted intensely for Al-Wefaq despite their restlessness with its performance throughout the past four years."
- Maximiliano Herrera. "Electoral Calendar- world elections,US elections,presidential election,world parties". Mherrera.org. Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Bahrain's Opposition INAA Wins 18 Seats in Parliament," Al-Manar TV, 24/10/2010 Accessed 23/12/2010.
- "Bahrain: Four opposition groups call for boycotting Bahrain Election". The Muslim News. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- CounterPunch, 3 September 2010, Monarchy v. Democracy
- "Bahrain continues to suppress Shias," presstv.ir, Oct. 9, 2010. Accessed Dec. 23, 2010.
- "Bahrain silencing rights activists," presstv.ir, Oct. 2, 2010. Accessed Dec. 23, 2010.
- "Bahrain bars rights activists from travel" presstv.ir, Sept. 29, 2010. Accessed Dec. 23, 2010.
- Mahjoub, Taieb (October 24, 2010). "Shiites make slender gain in Bahrain election". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Sunnis lose Bahrain parliament majority," presstv.ir, Oct. 31, 2010. Accessed Dec. 23, 2010.
- "Bahrainis Vote for New Parliament amid Political Tensions," Al-Manar TV website, 23/10/2010. Accessed 23/12/2010.
- "Parliament polls close in Bahrain," Aljazeera. Accessed 12/23/2010.
- "Poll success for Bahrain Shia bloc," Aljazeera. Accessed 12/23/2010.