REG 221111 BAHRAIN ELECTION 1-1668162265164
Overseas voters cast ballots for parliamentary polls at a diplomatic mission. Image Credit: Bahrain News Agency

Manama: Bahrain goes to the polls on Saturday, the sixth general election since 2002, when King Hamad bin Eisa Al Khalifa launched a comprehensive reform programme that paved the way for a parliamentary process in the kingdom.

A total of 344,713 citizens are eligible to cast their ballots in both the Council of Representatives and municipal elections.

In the parliamentary polls, 336 candidates, including 94 women, are vying for the council’s 40 seats while 176 are running for the municipal councils. Unlike previous elections, the great majority of candidates in this year’s contest are independents. According to a tally by local newspapers, only 9 candidates belong to political societies.

The last election was held in 2018. According to election officials, this year has seen a 20 percent increase in the number of candidates compared to 2018.

That shows that the parliamentary process in Bahrain is progressing on solid footing, the Minister of Information Dr Ramzan Al Noaimi said at the opening of the elections media centre on Thursday evening.

He said the reform project of King Hamad has made it possible “to put the kingdom on the path of democracy, based on Bahrain’s well established tradition of ‘Shura’ that stood the test of time for more than two centuries.”

Bahrain Polls
Minister of interior Lieutenant General Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa Image Credit: Mohammed Almezel/Gulf News

“Today, we are look with pride at the great achievements in human development of the past 20 years. They are the fruit of His Majesty’s reform project.”

Saturday will see the first round of elections. If a candidate fails to win a majority of the vote in their constituency, a second round will take place a week later, on 19 November.