Elections in Bahrain

Elections in Bahrain

The National Assembly is bicameral with the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, having 40 members elected in single-seat constituencies for a four year term. The upper house, the Shura Council, has 40 members appointed by the King of Bahrain, with the stated aim of giving a voice to minority communities and technocratic experts within the legislative process. Supporters of the system refer to long established democracies the United Kingdom and Canada operating with this bicameralism with an appointed upper chamber and an elected lower chamber. Opponents of this system point out that unlike the bicameral systems in the UK and Canada, the Bahraini system gives the unelected upper house equal or more legislative power than the elected lower house, allowing the King to control all legislation. Opponents also point out that the current system was imposed unilaterally by the King, violating the and a 2001 signed agreement with the Bahraini opposition.

Latest elections

Bahrain's parliamentary elections held on 25 November 2006 saw major gains for both Shia and Sunni Islamist parties. The election was preceded by a political realignment in which opposition parites that had boycotted 2002's poll agreed to take part. Turnout was 72%.


* Al Wefaq (Shia Islamist) 17 seats:
Sheikh Ali Salman (leader), Khalil Al Marzooq, Shaikh Jassim Al Mo'min, Abduljalil Khalil, Mohammed Al Mezal, Sayed Jameel Khadim, Shaikh Hamza Al Dairy, Jalal Fairooz, Jawad Fairooz, Sayed Abdulla Al A'ali, Dr Abd'ali Hassan, Sayed Haidar Al Sitri, Sayed Maki Al Wedaie, Abdulhussain Al Metqawie, Mohammed Jameel Al Jamri, Dr Jassim Hussain and Jawad Fairooz

* Al-Menbar Islamic Society (Sunni Islamist) 7 seats: Dr Ali Ahmed Abdulla, Dr Samy Qambar, Nasser Al Fadhala, Ibrahim Al Hadi, Dr Salah Abdulrahman, Dr Shaikh Abdullatif Al Shaikh and Mohammed Khalid

* Al Asala Islamic Society (Salafist) 5 Seats:
Sheikh Adel Al Maawada, Ibrahim Busandal, Ghanim Al Buainain, Abdulhaleem Murad and Hamad Al Mohannadi.

*Pro-government independents 9 seats Adel Al Asoomi, Isa Abu Al Fatah, Khalifa Al Dhahrani, Samy Al Buhairy, Jassim Al Saeedi, Abdulla Al Dossari, Khamis Al Rumaihi, Latifa Al Gaoud and Hassan Salem Al Dossari.

* Dr Abdulaziz Abul, liberal independent [http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/story.asp?Article=163531&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=29259]

Past elections

2002 Parliamentary election

The elections in 2002 were the first since the late emir Shaikh Isa ibn Salman al-Khalifa dissolved the first elected parliament in 1975 and abrogated the 1973 Constitution (see: History of Bahrain).

On 24 October 2002, men and women went to the polls in Bahrain to vote in parliamentary elections for the new National Assembly. The poll was the first national election in which women had the right to vote and stand as candidates (see Women's political rights in Bahrain for more details). The 2002 elections were at the core of democratic reforms launched by King Hamad when he became King in 1999. The Kingdom's political associations are gearing up to contest the general elections in September 2006.

The largest opposition party Al Wefaq called for the restriction of the rights of elected MPs, campaigning for their legislative powers on issues related to the rights of women and children to be given to unelected clerics. In November 2005 they began a campaign for Bahrain's constitution to be amended to reflect this. According to [http://www.rulers.org Rulers] in parliamentary elections at 24 October 2002 the Sunni Islamists and independents won 16 of 40 seats. Turnout was 53.2%. In a second round held on October 31, the independents won 12 seats and the Islamists 9. The secular representatives or independents secure a total of 21 of the 40 seats. No women candidates were elected.

Candidates ran as individuals in the 2002 elections, but are organised in parliament as members of de facto political parties known as 'political societies'.

External links

* [http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/b/bahrain/ Adam Carr's Election Archive]
* [http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/1yr_arc_articles.asp?Article=124220&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=28207&date=10/13/2005 Women warned of 'dirty' poll fight] , Gulf Daily News, 13 October 2005

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