Citizens for Bahrain’s elections data is the most comprehensive and detailed English language guide available on the Bahrain 2014 elections process.
Citizens for Bahrain’s elections guide profiles all 40 political constituencies and the 266 candidates still contesting. Around 300 candidates initially registered for participation in the parliamentary elections, however there have been a number of withdrawals during the course of the contest as well as a few candidates whose candidacy was subsequently disallowed.
The information is based on media reporting, official sources and material provided by the candidates themselves and is the best understanding of the situation as of 13 November. We will endeavor to update this guide as more information becomes available.
Please note that all predictions are no more than best guesses based on the information available. They reflect our interpretation of the facts, not our preferences.
The *asterisk indicates female candidates. Most candidates are independents, where candidates are affiliated with a political society, this is highlighted in red.
Areas covered: Manama northeast coast, Diplomatic Area, Houra, Qudaybiya
Number of candidates: 5
Front-runners: Adel al-Asoumi (MP)
Worth watching: Khalid Sulaybikh, Ibrahim Janahi
Outsiders: Ahmed al-Awadhi, Ahmed al-Abbasi
Likelihood of going to second round: 45%
Housing blocks: 307, 308, 309, 310, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 344, 346
Registered voters: 6,317
Can anyone rival Adel al-Asoumi?
1st Capital is one of the most predominantly loyalist areas within the Capital Governorate and so the result will be closely followed. For the many regional visitors to Bahrain, this is the Manama they know, with its hotels, leisure facilities, the Corniche and plentiful shopping and restaurant opportunities.
In terms of land area this is one of the larger Capital constituencies, although it has relatively low population density with only 6,317 registered voters, a substantial proportion of these clustered in the more traditional areas of Houra and Qudaybiya.
One reason for the low population density is that the area encompasses many government and commercial offices, particularly in the Diplomatic Area and Financial Harbour. The population is set to grow in the coming years as much of the coastal land has been recently reclaimed and there are several huge residential projects underway.
Adel al-Asoumi is a popular incumbent, with a solid record behind him after eight years in Parliament. He will be difficult to displace.
Khalid Sulaybikh and Ibrahim Janahi have been visible in the media, but they have a long way to go if they want to force this contest to a second round.
Adel Abdulrahman Mohammed Ahmed al-Asoumi – Incumbent
Al-Assoumi said that since winning his parliamentary seat in 2006 “I embarked on a well-defined electoral programme for developing Houra and Qudaybiya. I’m now in the process of completing these… I’m one of the deputies who has made most use of constitutional parliamentary tools for achieving the aspirations of citizens”.
Al-Assoumi: “I expect to win by more than 75%. The other names don’t pose any threat to mine.” Seen as a popular and dynamic sitting MP, Al-Asoumi is Head of Bahrain’s National Basketball Association and active in increasing Bahrain’s international sporting profile. Al-Assoumi arrived several hours early for the registration process, in order to ensure that he would be the first person to register in the Capital.
Al-Assoumi refused to say how much he had budgeted for his campaign, but said that he required relatively less than those contesting for the first time, because incumbents like him relied more on their “public standing”, rather than self-promotion.
Khalid Yousif Ali Sulaibikh
Sulaibikh commented to Al-Ayam newspaper that his campaign would focus on the housing issue: “This constituency hasn’t seen any progress in housing for 12 years”.
He also has an interest in reducing university fees and providing financial support to students in order to “create a generation of young people who were more aware and better-educated”. Sulaibikh heads a committee for processing housing requests in his local area.
Sulaibikh told Al-Wasat newspaper that he would happily withdraw from the contest if the opposition ended its boycott, saying “the entry of the opposition would reduce the sectarian animosity that is plaguing this country”.
Sulaibikh used a public meeting convened in a local hotel to emphasize the importance of the housing issue in his elections platform.
Ibrahim Abdullah Mohammed Hassan Ahmed Janahi
Janahi: “I have entered the 2014 parliamentary elections for one purpose only: To strengthen the position of the citizen”.
Janahi says that his priorities are raising standards of living, support for the retired and housing. He stressed that there were many empty lands in his constituency which could benefit from more housing. In the 2010 municipal elections Janahi lost to a rival candidate by a handful of votes.
Janahi criticized “temporary assistance” provided by some candidates to entice constituents to vote for them.
Ahmed Mohammed Nour Sultan Mohammed al-Abbasi
Al-Abbasi’s campaign material has talked about the importance of increasing wages. His promotional billboards have begun appearing around Manama.
Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim al-Awadhi
Al-Awadhi has so far been one of the less visible candidates.
Areas covered: Central Manama, Burhama, Salehiya, Suwayfiyah
Number of candidates: 7
Front-runners: Ibtisam Hijres (MP)
Worth watching: Ahmed Qaratah, Faysal Bin-Rajab
Outsiders: Hashim al-Alawi, Faisal al-Aradi, Ala’uddin Bu-Ali, Ahmed Ghalib
Withdrawn candidates: Majid Tahir
Likelihood of going to second round: 60%
Housing blocks: 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 351, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357
Registered voters: 8,361
Battle of the independents in central Manama
This constituency includes the traditional market centre of Manama. However, the constituency has expanded quite substantially with the recent electoral border changes and now includes the outlying areas of Al-Burhama, Salehiya and Al-Suwayfiyah. As a result, it is difficult to make predictions as to which candidates may do well here.
According to an analysis by Al-Watan newspaper, the population of this constituency is around 80% Shia, attributing the success of female Sunni MP Ibtisam Hijres in this district to the overcoming of sectarian and gender divisions.
Many urban Shia in Manama are from the Ajam community, of Iranian origin, who tend to stand apart from Al-Wefaq and the mainstream opposition. Many established Ajam families are staunchly loyalist and will ignore Al-Wefaq’s election boycott, particularly with several moderate Shia candidates they can give their support to.
In early November some observers noted Shia candidates in the Capital districts taking advantage of Ashura events to promote themselves, either through Ashura-related messages via the social media, handing out leaflets during religious gatherings or charitable donations. There is still little direct campaigning in this area, although Ala’uddin Bu-Ali has started erecting billboards.
The incumbent, Ibtisam Hijres took over from an Al-Wefaq candidate in the 2011 by-election, but she is only contesting this area as a result of the boundary changes; she previously represented the 3rd Capital district.
Therefore, alternative independent candidates have a strong chance here. Former MP Ahmed Qaratah and Faysal Bin-Rajab are cited by commentators as strong rivals to Hijres.
After a slow start, this campaign is beginning to gain momentum, with huge billboards of Hijres and some of her rivals on major roads going into Manama.
*Ibtisam Abdulrahman Hijres Ahmed – Incumbent
MP Ibtisam Hijres gained her seat in 2011 after the Al-Wefaq MP in her constituency walked out of Parliament. She narrowly beat Hashim al-Alawi in a second round vote on a low turnout (366 votes to 312).
Hijres has become a well-known figure and her participation in major events is regularly covered in the media. However, she seems to have made little effort to engage the media with her campaign platform.
Ahmed Abdulwahid Jassim Hassan Qaratah
Former MP Qaratah said his decision to participate had been a last-minute one, based on pressure from local people. @AhmedQarata
Sayed Hashim Abdulghuffar Mohammed al-Alawi
Al-Alawi narrowly beat Ibtisam Hijres in the first round of the 2011 by-election. He narrowly lost in the second round.
Faisal Hassan Abdulrasoul Bin-Rajab
Bin-Rajab is associated with the Bin-Rajab Maatam, a major Shia institution and the oldest Maatam in Manama.
Faisal Ali Ibrahim Ahmed al-Aradi
Al-Aradi said that as a result of his previous role in the Human Party (hizb al-insan), greater efforts were required by “intelligent figures” to promote unity and reform.
Al-Aradi, a poet, said that his campaign slogan was “The youth must have a say in building the nation”, and stressed the importance of “taking advantage of the talents of the youth”. His campaign also focuses on “housing, the economy, education and health”.
Ala’uddin (Alaa) Abdali Mohammed Hassan Bu-Ali
Bu-Ali told Al-Watan newspaper of his desire to improve local services, reduce unemployment and improve facilities for young people.
Ahmed Muhsin Qassim Ghalib
Ghalib promises to “find solutions for facilitating the recruitment of unemployed graduates”.
Areas covered: Sanabis, Karbabad, Seef
Number of candidates: 7
Front-runners: Ali Shamtout (MP), Abbas Siraj
Worth watching: Mohammed al-Mawali, Ammar al-Mahari, Adel Abdulhamid
Outsiders: Abbas Kayid, Hashim al-Aradi
Likelihood of going to second round: 60%
Housing blocks: 402, 404, 406, 408, 410, 412, 414, 422, 424, 426, 428, 430, 432, 434, 436, 438, 592
Registered voters: 10,225
MP Shamtout refuses to spend any money on his campaign
This district is a strange combination of the fashionable Seef District which features several of Manama’s most popular malls; alongside localities like Sanabis and Karbabad which have been hotbeds of opposition rioting.
The boycott does seem to have split this community with many criticizing Al-Wefaq’s boycott, which they say risks depriving locals of proper representation.
Incumbent Ali Shamtout won the seat from an Al-Wefaq candidate after the 2011 Al-Wefaq parliamentary walkout and the subsequent by-election. However, Shamtout won this by-election on a historically low turnout. It is unclear whether his parliamentary role over the last three years has gained him sufficient visibility and popularity to have the edge over his rivals, particularly give the complicating factor of the boycott.
However, the expected strength of the boycott has deterred strong candidates from standing in this area; few of Shamtout’s rivals have obvious popular and political credentials that would make them a potential front-runner.
At least one candidate, Mohammed al-Mawali, has reported multiple attacks against his property by opposition militants; a factor that may deter potential candidates and voters.
It has to be said that the electoral campaign in this Capital constituency has been notably lackluster and even in the upmarket Seef District, there was hardly a single campaign poster in evidence for any of the candidates just two weeks before the vote.
Incumbent Ali Shamtout pledged that he wouldn’t spend 4 cents on his candidacy campaign, turning the lack of wasted spending into a virtue. Responding to criticism from a rival who he was a “poor deputy”; Shamtout said “Yes, I’m poor and still live in a house likely to collapse with five of my children”.
Ali Abbas Abdullah Shamtout – Incumbent
Shamtout gained his seat in 2011 after the Al-Wefaq MP in his constituency walked out of Parliament.
One media analysis described Shamtout as having been a “trouble-maker” in the previous Parliament and an example of the “severe crisis in the political culture” of the Parliament, commenting that his 2011 win was “a stroke of luck”.
However, Shamtout’s maverick personality has gained him local admirers. You have to have some respect for a standing MP who has said that they “won’t spend 4 cents” on his election campaign!
Shamtout said that his campaign slogan would be “You failed us!” which he said was directed both at the Government and former MPs. Shamtout said he wanted to concentrate on health services and addressing “the current political situation”. He said he would continue highlighting the sickle cell issue. Shamtout has been demanding that the Housing Ministry speeds up the disbursal process for housing units built for the people of Sanabis.
Abbas Abdullah Abdulhussain Siraj
Siraj lost to Ali Shamtout in the 2011 by-election (86 votes to 105 in the first round, 114 votes to 148 votes in the second, in a very low turnout). Siraj represented the pro-constitution Al-Mithaq Society in the 2002 elections. Siraj is a member of the board of directors of the Jaffari Waqf Council.
Siraj will be standing as an independent, despite earlier reports that he could be associated with Al-Mithaq.
Siraj has been described as a “moderate Muslim who completely avoids any sectarian tendencies”. Commenters say that because of the popularity he enjoys in localities like Sanabis and Karbabad, he is a dangerous rival for Shamtout.
Mohammed Jaffar Abdullah Mohammed al-Mawali
Al-Mawali’s home and car were repeatedly attacked by opposition militants after he declared his intention to participate in the elections. However, Al-Mawali confirmed in an interview with Al-Ayam newspaper that these attacks “will not deter me from competing”. He noted that he had received dozens of calls from locals condemning these incidents. Al-Mawali had initially been touted to compete in the 1st Northern district, although both districts are a central focus of the opposition’s boycott attempts.
Adel Hamid Abdulhussain Jaffar
Hamid said that national unity was the most important prize that deputies should pursue; strengthening people’s sense of citizenship and the value of “justice for all”. His campaign slogan loosely translates as “If we are together… our nation can be more beautiful”.
Ammar Jaffar Ibrahim Yousif al-Mahari
Al-Mahari said he was encouraged to compete by the calls for a boycott. He said that he expected to face “substantial pressures” after announcing his candidacy. His priorities are infrastructure, employment and housing. Al-Mahari mentioned that he would focus his campaigning efforts on online activity.
Abbas Ali Mohammed Kayid
Kayid said he would work to reduce unemployment and combat “cumbersome” housing regulations. He said he would also “confront the politicized naturalization”.
Sayed Hashim Saeed Hassan al-Aradi
Hashim al-Aradi has called for action to strengthen national unity and banish “extremism and radicalization”. @HASHOOMI78
Areas covered: Fateh, Juffair, Ghuraifa, Mina Salman, Umm Hassam, Abu-Ghazzal, Adliya
Number of candidates: 7
Front-runners: Hassan Bukhamas (MP), Abdulrahman Bumajid (MP) Ammar al-Banai
Worth watching: Ibrahim al-Mannai (Mithaq), Adnan al-Nuaimi,
Outsiders: Fadhil al-Badu, Faisal al-Aynati
Likelihood of going to second round: 95%
Housing blocks: 324, 325, 326, 327, 333, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 373
Registered voters: 7,014
Two MPs fighting over one seat in one of the toughest contests
This will be a fascinating contest as two (originally three) incumbent deputies have been thrown together by the radical changes in constituency boundaries, along with several other high-profile candidates.
This district includes the area around Bahrain’s central Al-Fateh Mosque, the popular coastal Juffair area and the culturally-significant locality of Adliya. However, this region contains a diverse range of localities: Middle class and working class; a broad range of political affiliations and a mix between Sunni-majority and Shia-majority areas; including Ajam Bahrainis of Iranian origin, who are often loyalist in orientation.
MP Hassan Eid Bukhamas both gained his seat in the 2011 by-election following the Al-Wefaq parliamentary walk-out. Bukhamas, whose former constituency represents the core areas of this constituency (Al-Fateh, Juffair, Mina Salman…) may be the best-placed figure to win this battle, as several pundits have speculated. However, MP Abdulrahman Bumajid (with strong support in the Umm Hassam and Abu-Ghazzal areas) also has a solid support base.
Al-Mithaq Society has put forward Ibrahim al-Mannai and there are also several independent figures contesting this constituency, including former Municipal Councilor Adnan al-Nuaimi and popular TV host Ammar al-Banai.
During the second week of November, Ammar al-Banai and Bumajid have been the first figures in the locality to open their campaign headquarters.
Voters here are spoilt for choice with a clutch of popular and high-caliber candidates.
Abdulrahman Rashid Abdulrahman Khalaf Bumajid– Incumbent
Bu-Majid’s election slogan “Al-Bahrain tasta’ahal” loosely translates as “Bahrain rises to the challenge”. He said that he registered his candidacy on the first day in order to encourage Bahrainis to vote and sign up as candidates. Bumajid, who has held a parliamentary seat since 2006, said he welcomed the prospect of going head-to-head with Bukhamas. However, he admitted that the border changes made things harder for him, noting that his constituency had expanded from 3,500 to 7,000 registered voters.
Hassan Eid Rashid Bukhamas – Incumbent
Deputy Bukhamas has stressed that he will prioritize “housing, infrastructure, unemployment, and recruitment”. He also said that he wanted to promote “clean family tourism, particularly in Juffair”. Bukhamas added that he wanted to crack down on “lewd parties, prostitution and the sale of alcohol”.
Bukhamas has twice won a place in Parliament, first in the 2002 elections and then in the 2011 by-election.
Ibrahim Abdullah Hussain al-Mannai – Mithaq
Al-Mannai is a member of Al-Mithaq al-Amal al-Watani (National Action Charter) Society, which is part of the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition. Al-Mannai noted that he had achieved 44% of the vote against Bumajid in previous elections.
Al-Mannai formerly served in the Secretariat General of the GCC in Riyadh. He said that his campaign platform focused on “security and stability in Bahrain and developing the performance of state institutions”. @ebrahimalmannai
Adnan Hassan Surrour Mubarak Allaq al-Nuaimi
Al-Nuaimi is a former municipal councilor.
Ammar Ahmed Ghuloum al-Banai
Al-Banai said that his priority was raising standards of living for citizens. He talked specifically about increasing public sector wages, “for the sake of achieving social justice”. He said that as an MP he would be dedicated to promoting the priorities of the youth “because the young people for Bahrain are the knights of change and the future of the nation”.
Al-Banai – himself a popular TV presenter and a respected liberal voice – said that he would promote the rights of journalists and the role of the media within the Parliament. Following the opening on his election HQ on 8 November, he has announced a programme of debates about the issues he wants to address. @shabab4capital @aalbannai
Fadhil Mohammed Hassan al-Badu
Businessman Al-Badu wants to “achieve the demands and desires of citizens”. Al-Badu is executive director of the Fursan Group.
Faisal Ali Ibrahim Abdullah al-Aynati
Al-Aynati is a prominent lawyer, standing as an independent.
Areas covered: Bilad al-Qadeem, Zinj, Salmaniya, Segaiya, Mahooz and Abu Asheera
Number of candidates: 9
Front-runners: Adel Al Safr
Worth watching: Wafa Ajoor, Hussain Bukhamas, Nasir al-Qusayr, Kadhim al-Uwaynati
Outsiders: Rashad Umar, Mamoud al-Hamar, Basimah Saleh, Ibrahim al-Awadhi
Disallowed candidates: Abdulhalim al-Shammari
Likelihood of going to second round: 70%
Housing blocks: 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 334, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 363, 364
Registered voters: 7,782
Court decision removes frontrunner MP Al-Shamari
The inclusion of several opposition strongholds makes this sector an unpredictable one, particularly given the recent boundary changes which mean that this district is an entirely new creation from several former districts.
Sitting MP Abdulhakim al-Shamari had been the obvious front-runner in this contest, until a legal complaint from a rival about Al-Shamari’s main address being outside the constituency led to a court decision to remove Al-Shamari from the contest.
Al-Shamari had been slated to stand in the 4th Capital district after the constituency boundary changes, which would have meant him contesting against two other sitting MPs. However, Al-Shamari succeeded in asserting that his address was within 5th Capital, which pitted him against another MP – Jamal Abdullah – who promptly withdrew from the elections contest.
In Al-Shamari’s absence the contest includes a range of vigourously-campaigning local personalities, including business figures like Adel Al Safr, head of the US Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain who represents the liberal Al-Watan political society. Medical consultant Wafa Ajoor and pro-youth candidate Hussain Bukhamas have been among the figures working hard to strengthen their profile.
Meanwhile Al Safr and Nasir al-Qusayr are currently competing hard in the battle of the billboards, with huge images jostling for space at major junctions.
Adel Ahmed Ahmed Al Safr – Al-Watan
Al Safr is the Al Safar Group chairman, associated with the new Al-Watan political society, as well as being the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain.
He has promised to promote the Bahraini economy and encourage investment. Al Safr criticized the “weak” performance of previous parliaments in promoting economic growth.
Al Safr said that housing was at the top of his priorities, particularly for his own locality, Bilad al-Qadeem. He criticized housing programmes that relocated people outside their traditional localities.
Al Safr has also singled out the importance of promoting education and ensuring that qualifications were in line with the needs of the workforce. Al Safr is also reportedly starting a welfare fund for the constituency to “provide healthcare, social assistance and educational support to families and the youth”. @AdelAlSafar
*Dr. Wafa Omran Jassim Ajoor
Ajoor, a medical consultant for 19 years, said she had excellent relationships with local people, having helped “most Bahraini women in giving birth”.
Ajoor called for greater accountability and closer monitoring of the work of government and the spending of public funds.
Hussain Ali Eid Rashid Bukhamas
Bukhamas said his campaign slogan was “Empowering the youth”. He said that the youth were the best hope for Bahrain’s future, but currently constituted the “least influential sector” in Bahrain’s society.
Bukhamas talks about benefiting from the creativity of young people and “freeing the minds of a wide segment of them from extremism and superstition”. Bukhamas wants 2015 to be declared “the year of youth”. @h_bokhammas
Nasir Abdulridha Mohammed Ali al-Qusayr
“The current situation requires change, in terms of increasing standards of living and improving oversight and legislation;” Al-Qusayr told Al-Ayam newspaper.
Qusayr is a prominent advocate for strengthening Bahrain’s sporting achievements. His sporting roles include being treasurer of the Basketball Association. On 12 November Nasir opened his elections HQ.
Al-Qusayr says his priorities are job creation, “increasing the economic and social rights of women”, and in particular the housing issue. He said he would address housing through “increasing the role of the private sector in implementing housing projects, speeding up the rate of construction, accelerating housing transfers, and cancelling the condition of linking the wages of spouses”.
Kadhim Ali Ibrahim Mohammed Ahmed al-Uwaynati
Al-Uwaynati was soundly defeated by an Al-Wefaq candidate in 2010, gaining just over 200 votes. He lost again to Jamal Abdullah in the 2011 by-election (150 votes versus 390 in the first round, 190 votes to 430 in the second).
Rashad Izzuddin Mohammed Ahmed Umar
Rashad said he wanted to stand because of the “failures” of previous parliaments. He stressed his independent position in comments to Al-Bilad newspaper, saying he would not accept support from any party. Rashad’s legal application against Abdulhakim al-Shamari arguably succeeded in removing the strongest candidate from this 5th Capital contest.
Mamoud Abdullah Ahmed Mohammed al-Hamar
Al-Hamar works for the Bahrain Aluminium company, Alba. He claims that the “previous Parliament failed to achieve anything. Therefore, I will seek to serve citizens”.
*Basimah Saleh Ali Abdullah
Saleh – a housewife – told journalists that “life experience” was more important for candidacy than educational qualifications. She contested the 2010 elections, but only gained 164 votes.
Ibrahim Sadiq Abdullatif Hashim al-Awadhi
Al-Awadhi’s campaign has to date not received media coverage.
Areas covered: Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla
Number of candidates: 5
Front-runners: Ali al-Atish (MP, Rabitah), Abdullah al-Kooheji
Worth watching: Ihsan al-Faraj, Masoumah Abdulrahim
Outsiders: Abdulnabi Mahdi
Withdrawn candidates: Fatima al-Akram, Mohammed Shubar
Likelihood of going to second round: 70%
Housing blocks: 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 405, 407, 411, 413, 419, 421, 423, 425, 701, 705, 707, 711, 713
Registered voters: 10,946
Uncertain prospects for 6th Capital
Several areas of this district were incorporated from parts of the Northern Governorate, producing an area where opposition support is prevalent. So it will be interesting to see what proportion of people boycott and how the candidates fare.
In violence after the Shia Ashura processions in early November, there was an outbreak of vandalism in the area, including the destruction of at least one billboard for Abdullah al-Kooheji. Unsurprisingly, most other local candidates have so far been reluctant to publically display any promotional material advertising themselves.
The candidates are predominantly new faces within political circles, with the exception of former MP Ali al-Atish, so it remains to be seen who will gain greater prominence. Abdullah al-Kooheji is a prominent banker and Ihasn al-Faraj has been vocal in putting his policy ideas forward. Al-Kooheji’s billboards are out in force at major entrances to this district.
With two women candidates, this district is one of Bahrain’s stronger prospects for a new female face in Parliament.
Registered candidate Sayed Mohammed Shubar, announced his departure from the contest. Shubar pledged his support for Ali al-Atish, who he said possessed more experience. Fatima al-Akram has also withdrawn.
*Dr. Masoumah Hassan Abdulhussain Abdulrahim
Dr. Masoumah – a psychologist – has stressed the importance of promoting the role of women in Parliament and other areas of society. She wants to prioritize opportunities for youth, pensioners and women. @DrMassoma1
Ali Hassan Ahmed Ali al-Atish – Rabitah
Al-Atish is a former MP, associated with the Rabitah Society.
Abdullah Abdulqadir Abdulrahman Abdullah al-Kooheji
Abdullah is a director in an investment bank. His elections platform comes with proposals for promoting the economy, social support for the needy and protection of the environment.
The media has reported promises by Al-Kooheji to prioritize improving standards of living and “fighting administrative and financial corruption”.
Al-Kooheji has so far been one of the most visible campaigners in this locality, erecting highly visible billboards and distributing other promotional material. @AbdulaAlkooheji
Ihsan Ali Ali Isa al-Faraj
Al-Faraj has criticized the performance of previous deputies, saying he believed he enjoyed sufficient local popularity to win the contest. Al-Faraj said his campaign would focus on services, housing, health and education.
*Fatimah Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim al-Akram
Fatimah is focusing her campaign on young people, unemployment and housing. Fatimah tried unsuccessfully to compete for the municipal elections in 2002.
Abdulnabi Mahdi Ali Mahdi
Abdulnabi has yet to gain a media profile during this campaign.
Areas covered: Jid Ali, Jurdab
Number of candidates: 5
Front-runner: Abdullah al-Dirazi, Zainab Abdulamir
Worth watching: Ridha Shukrallah, Osamah al-Khajah, Khalid al-Quwwati
Withdrawn candidates: Yousif al-Qidoum, Ali al-Arabi
Likelihood of going to second round: 65%
Housing blocks: 709, 721, 729, 733, 816
Registered voters: 10,695
New constituency joins expanded Capital Governorate
This district is a remaining fragment of the 1st district of the defunct Capital Governorate. The district lies to the south of Manama along the stretch of coast facing the island of Sitra and has a diverse population, making voting predictions difficult.
For example, parts of the locality hails from the Ajam community of Iranian origins, although some Ajam have opposition sympathies, the established families, with close ties to the royal family, are staunchly loyalist. So a respectable turnout can be expected.
This area has tended to have one of the highest turn-outs for elections in the Capital area. The lack of any pervading political ideology and a diverse community have tended to favour a broad range of independent candidates and historically has resulted in some of the most interesting – and surprising – electoral contests.
There have been vandalism attacks against elections advertising, including the destruction of a major Abdullah al-Dirazi billboard in Jurdab.
With no standing MP, there are several figures in this newly created district who are worth watching, including two previous parliamentary and municipal candidates and well-known journalist, Zainab Abdulamir.
Deputy-head of the National Institution for Human Rights, Dr Ali al-Dirazi, is also a well-known and widely-respected figure. Several predictions have indicated Al-Dirazi as the strongest contestant.
Despite this being her first attempt at elections participation, many have commented favourably on the way Zainab Abdulamir has gone about her campaign, which has been well-covered in the media and some local figures suspect she will perform well on the day of the vote. Businessman Osamah al-Khajah also seems to have been fighting a good campaign and both figures have succeeded in coming up with clear and imaginative policy positions.
Both Al-Khajah and Khalid al-Quwwati have experience in contesting elections, with Al-Quwwati gaining 18.2% of the votes in 2010 municipal elections.
Ridha Shukrallah is also emerging as an interesting candidate with an important message of reconciliation and national unity.
Prominent journalist Ali al-Arabi withdrew from the contest “for personal reasons”, along with one other candidate, leaving a greatly slimmed-down contest.
*Zainab Abdulamir Khalil Ibrahim
Journalist Zainab Abdulamir has urged greater collaboration between the private and public sectors in order to facilitate job creation for young people. She says youth unemployment will become a substantial problem for the future if more isn’t done to expand opportunities for challenging roles for graduates in the private sector.
Zainab said that there is a desire for change in Bahrain and for “new blood” in the Parliament, which gives greater momentum to candidates representing the youth. Regarding the housing crisis she said that this should be addressed through local developers, companies and banks, to avoid depleting the national budget.
Zainab said she had gained political experience from nine years of covering parliamentary sessions as a journalist. She caught the media’s attention by giving away promotional car stickers which covered the entire rear window. @zainabaameer
Dr. Abdullah Ahmed Isa Ali al-Dirazi
Deputy-head of the National Institution for Human Rights, Al-Dirazi told journalists that there was a need for human rights specialists and experts in law in the Parliament. Al-Dirazi is a well-known figure and his candidacy announcement caused a flurry of interest in the media.
Al-Dirazi made newspaper headlines with his campaign claim that “the right to an appropriate standard of living… is an achievable goal”. He has stated that minimum wage levels should be raised. Al-Dirazi promised to put pressure on the Government to issue a time table for delivering on public demands concerning the housing issue.
Al-Dirazi has called for the Capital Governorate to be prioritized for improving public infrastructure. He stressed that service provision was particularly poor in many of the villages and paved roads had been neglected.
Responding to attacks against his billboards, Al-Dirazi observed that “it is unfortunate that there are people in society who want to target those who want the country to move forward”. The media noted the irony that Al-Dirazi’s NIHR which is tasked with “monitoring attempts to intimidate election candidates and attacks on their property”.
Al-Dirazi has caused for education reform, including ensuring that in private schools the “educational factor is prioritized over profits”. @AbdulaDurazi
Osamah Abdulhamid Ahmed al-Khajah
Businessman Al-Khajah has extensively discussed the housing crisis, in the light of 40,000 outstanding applications and continually rising prices of building materials. Al-Khajah said that greater efforts were needed and a revised look at the outstanding regulations concerning housing provision. His campaign uses the slogan “With your vote we’ll build the nation”.
Osamah narrowly missed out on a seat in the 2011 by-election, having defeated Sumayah al-Jowder in the first round (with Al-Khajah obtaining 42% and Sumayah only 26%), she beat him in the second, 1,725 votes to 1,660.
Khalid Ibrahim Ali Jassim al-Quwwati
Ridha Ahmed Mohammed Hassan Shukrallah
Shukrallah has called for greater efforts to reach consensus between the various components of Bahrain’s society, saying that national reconciliation was his priority if elected. He said that the coming Parliament “could not ignore the importance of eradicating political strife”.
Shukrallah: “Let us strive ourselves to restore Bahrain to being a source of emulation, through our love. Our strength and our wisdom”.
Shukrallah has strongly backed “all the initiatives” of Bahrain’s Crown Prince for promoting the economy, furthering dialogue and reconciliation and combatting corruption.
Areas covered: Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza
Winning candidate: Majid al-Asfour
Withdrawn candidates: Amin Mansour, Jaffar Abdullah
Housing blocks: 380, 381, 382, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606
Registered voters: 9,372
Majid al-Asfour wins by default in Sitra
When the dust settled after the registration process, there were three candidates standing for the Sitra constituency; Majid al-Asfour, Amin Mansour and Jaffar Abdullah.
Shia cleric Majid al-Asfour was the favourite candidate throughout and gained the most media attention. This was also a campaign marred by boycott threats and attacks by local militants on anything related to the elections. Al-Asfour had his property attacked and his car set alight.
These factors possibly contributed to the decision made by the other two candidates on 9 November to withdraw in favour of Majid al-Asfour. Reportedly, at least one of the candidates phoned Al-Asfour and told him of the decision to withdraw and that he was the preferred and more experienced candidate.
After the announcement by the Justice Ministry of his win, Al-Asfour told the media: “I will do everything I can to find jobs for the unemployed in the constituency. Considering that our area is surrounded by factories, I will do whatever I can to ensure that these factories contribute to employing the unemployed young people in this constituency”.
Dr. Majid Muhsin Mohammed al-Asfour
Al-Asfour during his campaign told the press: “Everything grinds to a halt if there is no security. Therefore the necessary steps must be taken because we all need security, which is necessary for exercising freedoms”.
Al-Asfour, a Shia cleric, said he will prioritize raising standards of living, public services and housing.
On 20 October, Al-Asfour’s property was attacked and two of his cars were set on fire, apparently attributed to those opposing his candidacy. He said the attacks had made him more determined to contest the elections.
Al-Asfour said that rather than just detaining those who had perpetrated the attacks, police should target those who had instigated these attacks and exploited the youths involved.
Al-Asfour on 2 November called for the 2014 Ashura festival to be used to reduce sectarian tensions. Al-Asfour came fifth place in the 2006 elections, with 134 votes.
Areas covered: Southern Sitra, East Eker
Number of candidates: 3
Worth watching: Mohammed al-Shaikh, Ibrahim al-Asfour, Jawad Buhussain
Withdrawn: Mohammed al-Ekri,Mohammed Jaffar
Disallowed candidates: Osamah Tamimi
Likelihood of going to second round: 65%
Housing blocks: 607, 608, 609, 611, 623, 624, 633, 634
Registered voters: 9,591
No obvious frontrunners in the south of Manama
This constituency is another entirely new area, made up of several former districts. Being centred around Sitra and Al-Eker, it includes opposition areas, and so will be influenced by the boycott.
Outspoken MP Osamah al-Tamimi – thrown out of Parliament in mid-2014 as a result of his behaviour towards other MPs – had been due to stand in this constituency However, after successfully registering, his candidacy was later struck down when another candidate pointed out that Al-Tamimi’s address was not in the constituency.
Figures like Mohammed al-Shaikh and Ibrahim al-Asfour have experience in unsuccessfully contesting previous rounds of elections.
Mohammed al-Ekri withdrew from the contest two weeks after attacks against his property. Militants attacked and burned Al-Ekri’s car business on 23 October, causing large amounts of damage. Al-Ekri said he had been accused of being a “traitor” for participating in the elections.
Mohammed Abdullah Abdullah al-Shaikh Jaffar Al Abbas
Al-Shaikh: “The call for a boycott disintegrated and failed to get the expected momentum”. Mohammed had competed in previous elections, but this time he thought his chances were better, particularly with the border changes which he said reduced the potential effect of the boycott.
Al-Shaikh gained 535 votes in 2006 and 446 votes in the 2010 elections – both times just around a tenth of the score of his Al-Wefaq rival.
Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Muhsin al-Asfour
Al-Asfour lost to Osamah al-Tamimi on a low turnout in the 2011 by-election. Al-Asfour scored 301 and Al-Tamimi beat him with 481 votes in the first round and Al-Tamimi won again in the second round with 443 votes to 417.
Jawad Abdullah Abdullah Abbas Buhussain
Former MP and local cleric Buhussain says he will prioritize the issue of public services and housing.
Areas covered: West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town
Number of candidates: 15
Front-runners: Sumayah al-Jowder (MP), Lulwah Mutlaq (Watan), Wajih Baqer (Mithaq)
Worth watching: Tariq al-Tamimi, Mohammed al-Markh, Ali Ishaqi, Noura Matouq, Yassir al-Khayyat, Nabil al-Balooshi
Outsiders: Yassir Bukhuwwah, Atiyatallah Al Sinan, Adel Abduljalil, Abdulhamid al-Baqishi, Salman al-Saffar, Khalifa Sulaibikh
Likelihood of going to second round: 95%
Housing blocks: 625, 626, 644, 743, 745, 815
Registered voters: 10,046
Bahrain’s biggest election contest ever
This district is an entirely new creation which is comprised in part from former districts of the Central Governorate, which has given rise to a broad mix of candidates; including the independent incumbent Sumayah al-Jowder, who formerly represented 1st Central; and both the Al-Watan and Al-Mithaq Societies.
Al-Wasat newspaper reported the destruction of campaign billboards for numerous candidates in this district.
Mixed central areas like this have tended to favour moderate consensus candidates, hence the appearance of middle-ground groupings like Al-Watan and Mithaq contesting this seat and three rival female candidates. One newspaper analysis noted the prevalence of “technocratic and liberal” candidates, while expecting a high turnout of female voters.
The emergence of 15 participants for this constituency has resulted in the highest number of contestants in Bahrain’s history. This district is also notable for including three strong female candidates including the sitting MP, Noura Matouq and prominent businesswoman Lulwah al-Mutlaq.
As of 6 November all 15 candidates were still stressing to journalists their determination to remain in the race (Al-Wasat). Yassir al-Khayyat and Wajih Baqir have been among the more visible contestants. Some campaign billboards in the locality have been subject to attack, including at least one major billboard for Ali Ishaqi.
Several pundits are predicting that incumbent Sumayah al-Jowder may struggle to win this election. She is facing criticism from several sources of her parliamentary performance and her campaign so far seems to have lacked momentum in a crowded field.
Meanwhile, Lulwah al-Mutlaq has been waging a determined and effective campaign, making her one of the most visible local candidates in the media, while pledging to establish closer relations with local people in order to represent their aspirations at a national level.
A head-to-head contest between Mutlaq and Jowder in the second round would be an interesting prospect indeed!
*Sumayah Abdulrahman Ali Ibrahim al-Jowder – Incumbent
Al-Jowder gained her seat in 2011 after the Al-Wefaq MP in her constituency walked out of Parliament.
Former MP Al-Jowder told the Gulf Daily News: “What was previously known as one of Al-Wefaq’s fortresses is now open to all and honestly it is better since it would encourage more competition that would lead to the best getting elected”.
“I know that my three-year experience makes me the best candidate and my continuation is something I am eager for since it means that I would go ahead with whatever has been left pending.”
However, Al-Jowder has decided not to establish a campaign headquarters and her campaign has been relatively low-key so far, amidst criticism from some quarters of her perceived performance as a deputy – all indicators that she may struggle to win this tough competition.
*Lulwah Mutlaq Rashid Mutlaq – Al-Watan
Lulwah Mutlaq, the Golden Trust president, will stand as an independent, although she is also a founder member of the recently-established Al-Watan political society. “I don’t want to compete and then just be another one of the other silent deputies, in search of position and financial gain.
I want to contribute my energies to serving this people,” she told Al-Ayam newspaper. She said that she wanted to focus her attention on issues she specialized in, namely “human and economic development”.
Mutlaq pledged to establish closer relationships with local constituents than previous deputies had. “I will be with you and among you for the aim of achieving your hopes and aspirations,” she promised. @drlmutlaq_
Wajih Baqer Hussain Baqer – Al-Mithaq
Wajih Baqer is a member of Al-Mithaq Society from the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition. Some pundits have singled Baqer out as a strong candidate.
Baqer’s slogan: “The nation is built on your vote”. He pledged to concentrate on the issues of housing, low incomes, inflation and education.
Tariq Muhanna al-Tamimi
Brother of the controversial MP Osamah al-Tamimi, Tariq’s candidacy was initially rejected. However, Tariq has been allowed to stand on appeal. Osamah had been accepted for 9th Capital, but was then rejected due to his non-residence in the constituency.
Yassir Abdulrizzaq Abdullah Ali Bukhuwwah
Bukhuwwah: “The boycott is treason against the Bahraini people, because parliamentary representation means representation of the people, not the Government”. @YBokhowa
Mohammed Yousif Ibrahim Salman al-Markh
Lawyer Al-Markh looks to play a role in “restoring national unity and defending citizen’s rights”. He cited the importance of his years of legal experience.
Al-Markh said that previous representatives hadn’t seriously dealt with the concerns and grievances of local people “which had created the impression that they had failed”.
Al-Markh said he wanted to facilitate greater public oversight of the legislative process. He stressed the importance of modernizing the political process in order to improve services and accelerate progress. Al-Markh has opened his elections HQ to the public in Sanad.
Ali Mohammed Isa Abdullah Ishaqi
Bahrain Handball Federation chairman Ali Ishaqi, 46, said things had changed since he ran for a seat in 2010: “It was harder four years ago with Al Wefaq, but I won 2,600 votes and this shows that I am capable now more than ever of winning my seat,” he said.
“An issue I will take is non-Bahrainis born to Bahraini mothers and their right to choose between nationalities, which needs proper legislation to regulate it.”
*Noura Abdullah Ali Matouq
Matouq: “I have studied my chances and I had plans to run for a municipal seat in the now dissolved Central Governorate and have been trained by the Supreme Council for Women over the past two years,” said the Labour Ministry labour disputes superintendent.
Yassir Saeed Hussain Mohammed Salman al-Khayyat
Al-Khayyat: “The recent constituency changes were to everyone’s benefit. The new constituencies are fairer”. Al-Khayyat has pledged to promote the issue of Bahraini jobs for Bahrainis. He stressed the need for “real growth for creating more work opportunities”.
Nabil Abdullah Ali Mohammed al-Balooshi
Sayed Adel Ahmed Mohammed Abduljalil
Adel Ahmed is a young teacher standing as an independent candidate. He said his campaign slogan was “the time for change has come”, saying that such “change” could be best implemented by the youth.
With his campaign tent opening on 6 November, he has been one of the first Capital Governorate contestants to establish his HQ.
Atiyatallah Abdullah Hamad Abdullah Al Sinan
Al Sinan campaign slogan: “Through your vote we can achieve greater things”. Al Sinan was among the candidates whose campaign posters were vandalized.
Salman Abdulhadi Salman Salim al-Saffar
Al-Saffar’s promotional material boasts of his “vision for youth”.
Khalifa Ahmed Abdullah Sulaibikh
In an interview with Al-Wasat, writer and journalist Sulaibikh praised the competency of all 15 candidates on the 10 Capital list, while stressing his own determination to stay in the competition.
He criticized the way that Ministers and MPs had bargained over passing the previous budget, saying that this did not serve the public.
Abdulhamid Rashid Mohammed al-Baqishi
Abdulhamid told Al-Wasat he believed his chances of winning were around 50%.