Bahraini authorities announced the results of last week’s parliamentary and local council elections, despite calls by the opposition to boycott and government insistence there was high voter turnout.
Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, Religious Endowments and Chairman of the National Elections Committee (NEC) Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa announced the election results on Monday, the fifth round of elections since constitutional reform in 2002. Al-Khalifa told a news conference that voter turnout reached 70 per cent, which is close to local and international media reports quoting Bahraini officials indicating 67 per cent turnout.
This is higher than previous elections reported by pro-Manama Arab newspapers of a little more than 50 per cent, after Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society called for an election boycott. Nonetheless, voter participation is less than the first elections after the 2002 reforms, and 2006 and 2010 elections.
Al-Khalifa said only nine parliamentary districts were decided in the first round, which means there will be runoffs in 31 districts next week. Only five local council seats were decided, while 25 others will be in runoffs.
According to NEC figures, there were 506 candidates including 137 running for local council seats, with an “unprecedented” 41 female candidates. The government expects higher participation compared to 2014’s 53 per cent with an opposition boycott.