Manama: Bahrain is expected to announce the resutls of parliamentary and municipal polls held on Saturday where voter turnout was recorded at 67 per cent.
The figure marks a distinct increase of the 53 per cent in the last elections held in 2014.
“The increased turnout builds on the success of the 2014 elections, and ensures a clear mandate for a parliament representing the diverse range of views in Bahraini society,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa, the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowment, said at a conference after the 54 polls which opened at 8 am closed at 8 pm.
The count of the ballots is expected to continue overnight and the results announced on Sunday. The polling and the count are being monitored by 231 observers from the National Institute for Human Rights and four civil societies.
In all, 430 candidates stood for election, 293 for seats in the 40-member Council of Representatives and 137 for the 30 seats in the three municipal councils.
Bahrainis’ commitment to exercising their ballot rights was a clear indication of the support for the progress of of democratisation and the rejection of external forces who had deliberately sought to derail the electoral process, Shaikh Khalid added.
The 2018 elections have seen a record number of women candidates, with 39 women standing election to the Council of Representatives and eight for municipal councils.
The relative proportion of younger voters taking part in the elections also showed a significant increase, with more than 50,000 young men and women eligible to vote for the first time.