83 sign up for Bahrain elections
Manama, August 25, 2011
Eighty-three candidates, including nine women, signed up for next month's parliamentary by-elections in Bahrain as registration closed last night (August 24).
Thirty candidates registered in the Capital Governorate, 33 in Northern, 16 in Central and four in Muharraq, election officials said.
The largest number of candidates, eight, registered in Capital Governorate's Constituency eight, in which Al Wefaq HQ is located. The lowest number of candidates was registered in Capital Governorate's Constituency five and Central Governate's Constituency six - two each.
Thirty-one candidates filed their papers yesterday, they said.
Centres have been open every night since Monday for people to submit their candidacy for 18 seats vacated by Al Wefaq members.
It is understood that candidates have come forward in each of the vacant constituencies.
Election officials were pleased with the response. "The number of female candidates who have registered met our expectations, we estimated that between five and 10 would come forward," a spokesman said.
The spokesman confirmed that before registration opened yesterday, most candidates were running for seats in the Northern Governorate - with more than 20 vying to become MPs in that area.
However, all submissions must be approved by authorities before candidates can start campaigning in their constituencies.
They have come forward to take part in the elections, despite the Interior Ministry revealing that some people had been threatened against taking part.
Public Security chief Major General Tariq Bin Daina stressed authorities would do their utmost to safeguard the process. "The safety of candidates and voters are protected by the law and those who don't respect such a fact will be held accountable and legal procedures taken against them immediately," he said.
He called on everybody to practise their political rights through peaceful participation in the election process and said voters should not be pressured by groups opposed to the process.
Security precautions were taken at the election centres to protect candidates and any threats will not be tolerated, added a spokesman.
Candidates are vying for seats left vacant after Al Wefaq's 18 MPs resigned from parliament in February, in solidarity with protesters.
The organisation is among several opposition groups that have announced they will not be fielding candidates in the by-election. – TradeArabia News Service