Bahrain gears up for by-election
Manama, August 1, 2011
Bahrain is gearing up for its second parliamentary polls in less than a year, with the process of holding September's by-elections starting today (August 1).
Lists of eligible voters in 18 constituencies that no longer have an MP will be displayed from today until Sunday in four polling centres.
A total of 111,814 Bahrainis are eligible to cast their ballots in elections for seats vacated by MPs belonging to opposition group Al Wefaq.
The lists are being put up to allow voters to verify their names or have them included if they are not already listed, officials said yesterday.
The by-elections will be held on September 24 from 8am to 8pm, with a second round scheduled for October 1 for any constituency with no clear winner. Voting will also be held at Bahraini embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions abroad on September 20 and in case of a revote on September 27.
"We are fully prepared to conduct the by-elections in the 18 constituencies," said elections media committee head Mossa Al Khairi.
He said considering that people would be fasting during Ramadan, the timings for voters to check the electoral list would be from 5pm to 9pm.
Polling centres will be open at Al Ahd Zaher Secondary Girls School, Hamad Town, Al Wafaa Secondary Girls School, Isa Town, the Religious Institute, Manama, and Al Dair Primary and Intermediate Girls School, Muharraq.
"Anyone who is a Bahraini and registered on the final voting list in the 18 constituencies will be eligible to cast a ballot," said Mr Al Khairi.
The final list will be compiled by officials and given to all candidates, he added.
Eleven Al Wefaq members had their resignations accepted in March, after they were accused of stoking tensions during anti-government protests.
Al Wefaq's seven other MPs also resigned, but parliament initially postponed a decision on their resignations because they were not considered to have fanned the flames of unrest.
Parliament chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani later approved their resignations on May 17 after they failed to meet a deadline to attend sessions.
Society member Khalil Al Marzooq said earlier that Al Wefaq's Shura council would have the final say on whether to boycott or take part or in the by-elections,
The opposition society last month pulled out of the National Dialogue after it expressed reservations over the process.
Candidates can file their nominations for the parliamentary seats from August 22 to 24.
Al Khairi said candidates should visit the same four government schools to file their nominations from 9pm to midnight.
The final list of candidates will be displayed at the schools from August 25 to 27, he added.
Those planning to contest should fill a candidate's form posted on the official elections website vote.bh.
The form requires candidates to state various personal details, including whether they are affiliated to any political society.
They must also pay a non-refundable deposit of BD200 ($530) at the time of registration.
Parliamentary candidates who wish to appoint agents representing them in the elections should apply at the Supervisory Committee in their governorate from September 10 to 23.
Election rules stipulate that a candidate should choose one of the voters registered in the electoral list as an agent.
People casting their votes can also visit polling centres at the Bahrain International Airport, King Fahd Causeway, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain City Centre and the Education Ministry's Main Hall in Isa Town.
Voters should carry their passport along with a valid CPR or smart cards to cast their ballots.
Staff will mark voters' passports with an election logo, details of which will be revealed later, to prevent double voting. – TradeArabia News Service