MB offshoot in Bahrain double’s up efforts in poll run off
Bahrain’s first round of elections held on Saturday has resulted in Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group securing 18 out of 40 seats in the country’s parliamentary elections in what was described as elections marred by irregularities.
This in turn has prompted the Muslim Brotherhood, Bahrain ’s Islamic Menbar, which had formally enjoyed immense parliamentary clout since 2002; launch a damage-control operation going into the second round of the parliamentary elections. The second leg of the parliamentary race is scheduled for October 30.
The Menbar National Islamic Society, chaired by Dr. Salah Ali expected to win 8 seats in parliament due to its popularity. During previous parliamentary sessions the society had succeeded in proposing nearly 112 laws and 619 bills in addition to the formation of 12 investigating committees. It submitted approximately 650 questions to ministers in the current 2006-2010 sessions and formed 11 interim committees. The group has participated in the discussion of more than 40 of the total questions submitted to parliament during the last parliamentary session. Of the 619 bills however, the government only responded to 290.
The MB’s political arm has called on the people to vote for its 10 remaining candidates 5 contesting in the parliamentary election and another 5 in the municipal poll Advertisements in the local papers were posted.
The group had formally been the third largest parliamentary bloc in the outgoing house acquiring seven out of the 40-seat legislature during the last elections. According to analysts this confidence of victory resulted in the group not renewing its 2006 alliance with Al Assala, the Salafi formation that had eight lawmakers in the House. The over confidence resulted in the group failing to win even a single seat where its three candidates lost in constituencies that have long been regarded as its bastions.
Because of the densely populated Shiite districts which have up to 15,000 registered voters, as opposed to areas where only Sunni candidates are running, which have a much smaller number on the electoral roll the MB offshoot is up for a much tougher opponent than previously expected.