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Calls to boycott the parliamentary elections escalate in Bahrain

Calls for a boycott of the parliamentary elections in Bahrain escalated in light of the political isolation law imposed by the Al-Khalifa regime to entrench authoritarian rule.

Partisan and political circles affirmed that participation in the elections serves injustice and achieves the focused authoritarian goals of unilateralism and opposing the people’s interest. It is a consolidation of a dictatorship.

This comes after the King of Bahrain Hamad Isa Al-Khalifa issued a decree regarding setting a date for elections and nomination for membership of the House of Representatives and another decree to define regions and electoral districts, their boundaries and sub-committees for the elections of the House of Representatives.

The first article of the order stipulated that voters whose names are registered in the voters’ lists, in implementation of the provisions of Decree-Law No. 14 of 2002, can elect members of the House of Representatives from 8 am until 8 pm on Saturday, November 12 2022.

The elections will be held in Bahraini embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions abroad on Tuesday, November 8 2022. In cases requiring re-election, the replay will take place on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, according to Article Two.

The first article of the decree stipulated that Bahrain would be divided into several electoral districts, which are the “Capital Region, Muharraq Region, Northern Region, Southern Region.” The scope of each electoral district is determined by the boundaries of the governorate in which it is located.

Decree No. 71 of 2014, regarding the delimitation of regions, electoral districts and their boundaries, and sub-committees for the elections of the House of Representatives, shall be repealed, as shall any text that contradicts the provisions of this decree – by Article Four.

Bahrain is scheduled to witness parliamentary elections within two or three months. Although the authorities have not yet announced a specific date for these elections, the country has begun to witness the announcement of some independents running for the parliament seat, in addition to the popularity of electoral campaigns.

This occurs when the opposition is absent from participating in the elections due to the Political Isolation Law, which was the amendment made to the Law on Exercising Political Rights in June 2018.

This led to the prevention of “actual leaders and members of political societies dissolved by a final ruling for committing a grave violation of the provisions of the Kingdom’s constitution or any of its laws” from electing and running for Parliament, which applies to the majority of the opposition street and the Shiite component in the country in particular.

Since the resignation of 18 deputies from the Al-Wefaq Society bloc in 2011 against the political protests that swept the country then, only the Progressive Al-Minbar Association (with a left-wing orientation) has participated in Parliament, usually with no more than two chairs.

Thus, the Assembly and its deputies do not constitute any pressure or force within Parliament. The opposition had become entirely outside the political equation in Bahrain after 2016 when the National Islamic National Accord Society and the Democratic Action Society (Waad) were dissolved.

Al-Wasat newspaper, the country’s independent newspaper, was also closed down, and freelance correspondents were prevented from working through the revocation of their work licenses.

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