Manama: Bahrain’s parliamentary elections will be held on November 22 with the run-off one week later, a royal order said.
Eligible voters will choose 40 lawmakers from the 40 electoral constituencies across the four governorates that now make up Bahrain after a royal decree on Monday dissolved the Central Governorate.
Polling centres will be open from 8am until 8pm to allow the voters to cast their ballots in the fourth parliamentary elections to be held in the kingdom since 2002 when political reforms ended a constitutional hiatus of almost 30 years.
In cases where there is no clear winner in any constituency, a second round is to be held one week later, the royal order issued on Monday evening said.
Elections abroad will be held at Bahrain’s diplomatic missions on November 18 for the first round and on November 25 in the run-off cases.
Male and female candidates planning to run in the parliamentary elections will have to submit their candidacies to special committees in their constituencies between October 15 and 19.
Several Bahraini men and women have already said that they planned to seek the much-coveted seats in the parliament, amid official stances calling for an active participation in the national decision-making process in the country.
Bahrain held parliamentary and municipal elections in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
By-elections were held only once on September 24, 2011 after Al Wefaq society, the largest bloc in the parliament, pulled out its 18 MPs in February in the middle of the dramatic events that hit the country. Three women were among the 18 new lawmakers elected to the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.
Under the new administrative map of Bahrain following the abolition of the Central Governorate and the redistribution of its electoral constituencies, the Southern Governorate has 10 constituencies, up from six, the Northern Governorate has 12 instead of nine and the Capital Governorate has 10, up from eight. The fourth governorate, the Muharraq Governorate, was not affected by the dissolution of the Central Governorate and kept its eight constituencies.
The redrawing of the map was one of the five core elements of an agreement reached by stakeholders from two political alliances, the parliament and the government as a prelude for resuming national talks.
The framework, that also included elements related to legislative authority, cabinet formation, judicial reform and security, was announced last week by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa who was in January instructed by King Hamad to move forward with a stalled national dialogue in Bahrain.
Under the electoral constituency, the parties agreed on a commitment to redefining electoral constituencies to ensure greater representation and measures to further enhance electoral oversight.