We now know that around three quarters of the new Bahraini Parliament will be made up of new faces and that former MPs will become a rather modest minority. Many of these new faces are certain to be relatively young Bahrainis, a significant number of whom are only just over the required age of 35 to compete.
Several of these younger candidates have competed specifically on a platform of promoting issues of concern to young Bahrainis, such as the challenge of finding jobs for graduates, homes for young families, improving standards of education and providing facilities for young people.
It is arguably thanks in part to the energetic campaigning many of these contestants that a younger generation of Bahrainis has turned out in such high numbers in many areas, allowing the proportion of voters to be between 60 and 90% in more than half of Bahrain’s constituencies.
Two good examples of these youth contestants can be found in adjacent constituencies – Khalid al-Shaer in 1st Southern and journalist Mohammed al-Ahmed in 2nd Southern. Both contestants won convincingly in the first round against stiff competition, and if they continue to maintain their lead in the second round, their path to the Parliament is assured....
Prediction: The first-round election results were bruising for many political societies, particularly the National Unity Gathering. The most likely second-round scenario is that the Sunni societies Al-Asalah and Al-Minbar win two parliamentary seats each, meaning a total of just four seats for Sunni-loyalist political societies.
For journalists covering parliamentary elections in most parts of the world they have an easy task – it is a question of looking at the three or four main political parties and how they fare when it comes to the public vote.
In the Southern Governorate, eight out of ten districts remain in the competition after Asalah’s Abdulhalim Murad won outright in 3rd Southern and Ahmed al-Mulla won 80% of votes in 10th Southern. One of the shock results was long-standing MP Jassim al-Saeedi being knocked out of the competition in 8th Southern by Dhiyab al-Noaimi. One women remains in the contest, Fawzia Zainal in 5th Southern.
Only two seats are being contested by political societies, with Asalah’s Adnan al-Maliki coming second place to Khalid al-Shaer in the first round (1st Southern) and Mithaq coming second to cleric Anis Buhindi in 6th Southern. Turnout in all constituencies except 10th Southern was high, with four districts seeing a higher than 80% turnout.