Bahrain Holding Controversial Runoff amid Boycotts

Bahrain Holding Controversial Runoff amid Boycotts
Sat Nov 29, 2014 09:44:41

Bahraini voters are returning to the polls for a runoff election being boycotted by the opposition for the country's first new parliament since widespread revolution nearly four years ago.

Saturday's election follows a first-round vote last weekend and is for 34 seats in the 40-seat lower house of parliament where no candidate won a majority, AFP reports.

Bahraini authorities say more than half of registered voters cast ballots last weekend, though leading Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq disputes that figure. It estimated turnout at closer to 30 percent.

Al Wefaq National Islamic Society said the voter turnout the Authority is trying to promote is amusing, ridiculous and hardly credible.

Controversy clouded Bahrain's first election since Sunni authorities crushed protests led by the Persian Gulf monarchy's Shiite majority, with the opposition mocking government boasts of more than 50 per cent turnout.

Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and is part of the U.S.-led coalition striking the so-called Islamic State group. As this result US and West usually show no interest to protesting Al-Khalifa human rights abuses and crackdown on pro-democracy opposition.

It continues to face street clashes and other low-level unrest as its majority Shiites push for greater political freedoms from the Sunni monarchy.

The group boycotted this year's elections in response to continuing government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and the failure of national unity talks with the government.

Last week, 2 days before first legislative elections since 2011 uprising, People of Bahrain cast ballots in a referendum against the Manama regime. Referendum created by protesters, asking people whether they support having the people choose a new political regime in Bahrain under United Nations supervision.

string(526) "[{"id":"1651141","sort":"3286197","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/11/21/alalam_635521957127834369_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Bahrain Opposition Cast Ballot in Anti-regime Referendum"} ,{"id":"1651279","sort":"3286198","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/11/22/alalam_635522507792198536_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Al-Khalifa Begins Election amid Mass Boycotts"} ,{"id":"1651888","sort":"3286199","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/11/24/alalam_635524241124715136_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Al Wefaq: Official Turnout Numbers are Ridiculous"} ]"