Bahrain holds run-off parliamentary poll
Written by Egypt News
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Bahraini voters went
to the polls on Saturday for a run-off poll with three groups -- two
Sunni Islamist and a leftist alliance -- contesting the last seats in
Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group, the Islamic National Accord Association (INAA), won all 18 seats it contested in the 40-member Bahraini parliament on October 23.
On Saturday, the National Islamic Forum, which is the local arm of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, was pitted against another Sunni Islamist group, Al-Assalah, in the race for the last nine seats.
Two candidates from the National Democratic Action Association, an alliance of pan-Arab nationalists and leftists that failed to win seats at the last election in 2006, were also running in Saturday's second round.
Voting was less intense on Saturday compared to the first round.
However, "more voters are expected to participate" during the final hours of voting which will continue until 8 pm (1700 GMT), said an elections committee member, Judge Khaled Ajaj.
Voters were also to cast their ballots for municipal councils.
In addition to the elected parliament, the king appoints members of a 40-strong consultative council, or upper chamber, which can block legislation from the lower house.
The INAA which boycotted Bahrain's first election following political reforms in 2001 that turned the emirate into a constitutional kingdom scored a sweeping victory on the first Saturday.
Its head, Sheikh Ali Salman, has demanded easing the grip of pro-Western Al-Khalifa family, a Sunni dynasty which has ruled Shiite-majority Bahrain since 1783.
Ahead of the poll, a wave of arrests of Shiite political activists drew warnings from international human rights watchdogs of a drift back to full-blown authoritarianism.
On Thursday, the trial opened of more than 20 Shiites accused of being militants who plotted to overthrow Bahrain's monarchy. They pleaded innocent and alleged they were tortured.
The archipelago state was plagued in the 1990s by a wave of Shiite-led unrest which has abated since the 2001 reforms.
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