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FLASHBACK: People voting for parliamentary elections last year at
the Bahrain Embassy in London

Proposal for Bahrainis abroad to vote in council polls

MANAMA, April 28, 2015

Councillors have urged authorities to draw up legislation that would allow Bahrainis living abroad to vote in municipal council elections.

Members of the Northern Municipal Council yesterday voted in favour of the proposal, which will be submitted to the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission - the body responsible for making any amendments to the Elections Law, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Bahrainis living abroad are only allowed to vote in the parliamentary elections because the law does not include overseas voting for municipal councils.

"The law doesn't say if Bahrainis are allowed to vote or not and this is why no-one was able to vote from outside in the last elections," said Khalid Qambar, who is the chairman of the council's financial, administrative and legislative committee.

"Bahrainis living abroad own houses here and must be able to choose the candidate they think is best for their area.

"Their participation is essential because they are part of the society and its development.

"Some people stay outside for a short period of time and miss the elections in Bahrain and therefore a small amendment by the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission will allow them to take part like any citizen living inside Bahrain.

"Many people came to us complaining about what happened hoping that the situation changes in the next elections in 2018."

Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission president Abdulla Al Buainain said the proposal was in line with the government's plans to have everyone taking part in national elections.

He said it would compliment existing rules that allow expatriates, who own property in Bahrain, to vote in municipal elections.

"The government is aware of the importance of allowing everyone to vote, whether in the parliamentary elections or the municipal council elections," he told the GDN yesterday.

"However, so far the law does not have an article that says if they can vote or not.

"Our job is to write laws but it has to be proposed to us by either parliament or the government, and in this case it has to be proposed by the Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry."

The proposal was passed during the council's weekly meeting yesterday, which was held at its headquarters in Saar. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahraini | Council | Vote | overseas | Municipal |

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