Election fever grips Bahrain

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There’s only a few weeks for Bahrain’s parliamentary and municipal elections, candidates are reaching out to voters. Although the final list of the candidates will not be announced until November 7, hopefuls have opted to announce their candidacies and making promises from securing jobs for everyone to turning a sprawling town into a green-looking feast for the eyes, populist pledges are being made to woo voters.

And the number of hopefuls informally announcing their intention to run is steadily increasing.

A headcount of those who have used newspapers or their social media accounts to share their parliamentary polls plans now stands at more than 300 candidates who will be vying for the 40 seats in the Council of Representatives, the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament, and for the municipal council seats.

The polls committees will be signing up candidates from October 17 to October 21 and presenting their names to the public to check information or oppose candidacies from October 22 until October 24.

The final list will be announced on November 7 and the elections will be held on November 24. The second round will be on December 1 in constituencies where none of the candidates secured at least 50 per cent of the votes.

Under Bahrain’s election law, a candidate must be a Bahraini citizen and must not hold a second citizenship, unless it is of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country – Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The candidate must be at least 30 years old, read and write Arab fluently, have a free criminal record and must enjoy his or her full civil and political rights.

Naturalised Bahrainis can run only after 10 years have elapsed after they were granted the Bahraini citizenship.

Leaders and members of political societies dissolved by a final court judgement for grave violations of the country’s constitution or laws and those who deliberately attempted to stall the constitution or the parliament are barred from running in the elections.