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Opposition leaders expect to score big wins

Upbeat by the high voter turnout, opposition leaders yesterday said they expect their coalition to score big in the parliamentary elections.

  • By Mohammed Almezel, Assistant Editor
  • Published: 00:00 November 26, 2006
  • Gulf News

Manama: Upbeat by the high voter turnout, opposition leaders yesterday said they expect their coalition to score big in the parliamentary elections.

They were divided on the possibility of winning a majority in the new Council of Representatives.

In the key opposition stronghold areas like the Northern Region and some parts of Al Muharraq Island, voters came out in hundreds to vote.

In the Jid Hafs area, where Ali Salman, the leader of Al Wefaq Islamic Society, the Shiite largest opposition group, is running, men and women lined up and waited, sometimes for 30 minutes to cast their votes.

In Al Muharraq's fourth constituency, Al Wefaq's ally, Abdul Rahman Al Nuaimi, the veteran leader of Waad, a secular leftist group, was greeted by dozens of voters when he stepped out of the polling station.

"If things go as planned, we will break the 20 seat barrier," Salman told Gulf News inside the polling centre. "Al Wefaq alone will win 17 seats," exactly the number of the group's candidates, he added confidently.

Al Wefaq and Waad need a majority in the 40-seat house to be able to implement their programmes, which according to Salman, focus on constitutional changes and "real development projects."

The constitutional issue was the major contention bone of contention over the past four years. King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, who launched Bahrain's reforms five years ago also introduced a new constitution that gives the appointed Shura Council equal legislative powers. The opposition is seeking to change that article to give the elected Council of Representatives the exclusive powers of legislation.

But Waad leader, Al Nuaimi was less optimistic. "We are doing well so far. The coalition will definitely win significant number of seats. But I doubt we will be in majority," he told Gulf News.

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