Nine out of ten Capital districts have gone through to the second round, with only the 8th Capital seat having been won by Shia cleric Majid al-Asfour by default.
Political societies are weakly represented in the Capital, with none of the major societies looking set to win a Capital seat in the second round.
Two women – Wafa Ajoor (5th Capital) and Zainab Abdulamir (7th Capital) came in second place in the first round but are still very much in the competition.
1st Capital – Adel al-Assoumi vs. Khalid Sulaibikh
Areas covered: Manama northeast coast, Diplomatic Area, Hoora, Qudaybiya
Housing blocks: 307, 308, 309, 310, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 344, 346
Registered voters: 6,317
Total number of votes: 4551
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 4357
Percentage voter turnout: 72.0%
Votes per candidate:
Adel al-Assoumi (MP) – 2068 (47.5%)
Khalid Sulaibikh – 1491 (34.2%)
Defeated candidates: Ibrahim Janahi – 631 (14.5%); Ahmed al-Awadhi – 93; Ahmed al-Abbasi – 74
This result will have surprised few people. Al-Assoumi is a popular MP and local figure, so he was predicted to come first. The question now is whether he can maintain that lead in the second round vote on 29 November.
Khalid Sulaibikh has fought and increasingly visible campaign and came a long distance ahead of the other three candidates on the day of the vote. However, it is difficult to see how he can make up enough ground to seriously challenge Al-Assoumi in the second round.
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.
As a result, a 72% turnout is a respectable figure and will give a strong mandate to whichever of the two candidates succeeds in the second round.
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 Hoora 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 Abdulrahman Mohammed Ahmed al-Assoumi – 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 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”. Sulaibikh used a public meeting convened in a local hotel to emphasize the importance of the housing issue in his elections platform. Sulaibikh heads a committee for processing housing requests in his local area.
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”. He has also called for better supervision of teaching standards.
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”.
2nd Capital – Ahmed Qarratah (MP) vs. Hashim al-Alawi
Areas covered: Central Manama, Burhama, Salhiya, Suwayfiyah
Housing blocks: 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 351, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357
Registered voters: 8,361
Total number of votes: 2784
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 2603
Percentage voter turnout: 33.3%
Votes per candidate:
Ahmed Qaratah (MP) – 946 (36.3%)
Hashim al-Alawi – 622 (23.9%)
Defeated candidates: Ibtisam Hijres (MP) – 412 (15.8%); Faysal Bin-Rajab – 312 (12.0%); Ahmed Ghalib – 112; Ala’uddin Bu-Ali – 105; Faisal al-Aradi – 94
Both of the figures through to the second round – MP Ahmed Qarratah and Hashim al-Alawi – fought a very local campaign based on shoring up grassroots support and hardly received any national media coverage.
As the incumbent, Qarratah has to be considered the favourite, but Al-Alawi would only have to increase his share of the vote by 10-15% to mount a serious challenge.
These two candidates will have been pleased to have removed former MP Ibtisam Hijres from the competition. Ibtisam’s campaign got off to a slow start, but in the days before the election her image was everywhere in the constituency and the media and she is an MP with a strong national profile.
However, Ibtisam only gained the seat on a relatively low turn-out in the 2011 by-election, and she was only contesting this area as a result of the 2014 boundary changes. She previously represented the 3rd Capital district. Hashim al-Alawi narrowly beat Ibtisam Hijres in the first round of the 2011 by-election, but he narrowly lost in the second round.
Ahmed Qarratah is another MP who made it into Parliament during the 2011 by-election. Although he is a less well-known figure than Ibtisam at a national level, he is more closely associated with the core areas of this newly constituted constituency, so those who know the area well were not surprised that he came out on top.
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, Salhiya 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 past successes 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.
The 33% turnout illustrates the very different dynamics in this constituency between those supporting the boycott, those who were disillusioned with the performance of MPs during the previous Parliament, and those who have come out to vote, either due to their support for a particular candidate, or their sense of national obligation.
Ahmed Abdulwahid Jassim Hassan Qaratah
In 2011 Qarratah won the parliamentary by-election with 791 (53%) of the votes. Qaratah said his decision to participate in the 2014 elections had been a last-minute one, based on pressure from local people.
In the past Qarratah has clashed with the MP from the neighbouring 1st Capital constituency, Adel Asoumi, over housing projects in the area.
Qarratah is one of several MPs who have called for tighter regulations for bars, hotels and nightclubs in parts of the capital, particularly Juffair. @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. Because his campaign did not get national media coverage, there is little available information about his campaign priorities.
3rd Capital – Adel Abdulhamid vs. Ali Shamtout (MP)
Areas covered: Sanabis, Karbabad, Seef
Housing blocks: 402, 404, 406, 408, 410, 412, 414, 422, 424, 426, 428, 430, 432, 434, 436, 438, 592
Registered voters: 10,225
Total number of votes: 1003
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 846
Percentage voter turnout: 9.8%
Votes per candidate:
Ali Shamtout (MP) – 246 (29.1%)
Adel Abdulhamid – 203 (24.0%)
Defeated candidates: Abbas Siraj – 123 (14.5%); Abbas Kayid – 107 (12.7%); Ammar al-Mahari – 84 (9.9%); Hashim al-Aradi – 54; Mohammed al-Mawali – 29
Incumbent Ali Shamtout won the seat from an Al-Wefaq candidate after the 2011 Al-Wefaq parliamentary walkout and the subsequent by-election. Shamtout won this by-election on a historically low turnout, and in 2014 he has ended up just 43 votes behind his opponent. When the results are this close, it is anybody’s guess who will win on 29 November.
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”.
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 in the days before the vote.
However, in the two weeks leading up to the election one candidate, businessman Adel Hamid, did distinguish himself in this district by coming out and campaigning hard, with a generous advertising budget and media coverage.
Where Shamtout has gained a reputation for being confrontational, Hamid has pledged to “build bridges of communication with state officials in order to address the problems facing the constituency”.
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.
On 22 November this was one of the constituencies with the smallest turnout, as local militants threatened shops and businesses, warning them to stay closed and heed the boycott, and urged constituents to remain at home and avoid the voting stations.
The 9.2% turnout will be a disappointment to candidates, but this is no great surprise in a district where active campaigning was virtually impossible, with any promotional material being quickly subject to vandalism.
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.
Adel Hamid Abdulhussain Jaffar
Hamid said that the constituency had lost out badly in recent years, in terms of infrastructure and services, with no serious attempt to address these issues. As an example of the “neglect” the area had suffered, Hamid noted the fact that the roof of the Sanabis girls school was on the point of collapse, with no action having been taken.
He said that the areas of Karbabad, Sanabis and Daih had been “greatly wronged” when it came to the housing issue. Regarding unemployment, he said that other deputies had been successful in seeking employment opportunities for local young people.
In an interview with Al-Wasat newspaper, Hamid said he sought to represent people from all parts of the political spectrum “I respect all views regarding the elections. I reject calling those boycotting the elections ‘traitors’.”
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” – a slogan that attracted a certain amount of ridicule in some circles. @Adelbinhameed
4th Capital – Abdulrahman Bumajid (MP) vs. Ibrahim al-Mannai
Areas covered: Fateh, Juffair, Ghuraifa, Mina Salman, Umm Hassam, Abu-Ghazzal, Adliya
Housing blocks: 324, 325, 326, 327, 333, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 373
Registered voters: 7,014
Total number of votes: 4371
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 4164
Percentage voter turnout: 62.3%
Votes per candidate:
Abdulrahman Bumajid (MP) – 1773 (42.6%)
Ibrahim al-Mannai (Mithaq) – 738 (17.7%)
Defeated candidates: Hassan Bukhamas (MP) – 678 (16.3%); Ammar al-Banai – 649 (15.6%); Adnan al-Nuaimi – 103; Fadhil al-Badu – 223
This was always seen as the most hotly-contested constituency, with two incumbent MPs – Bukhamas and Bumajid – standing against each other and several other well-known contestants.
However in the days leading up to the vote, it was Bumajid’s image that seemed to dominate around the area and he seemed to be the most vigourously-campaigning of the two.
In the event He won around three times as many votes as his three closest rivals, which still meant that he’d have to face a second round against Ibrahim al-Mannai from the Al-Mithaq Society (part of the Al-Fateh Coalition).
Nevertheless, some observers were surprised by the strength of Bumajid’s win, given the intensity of the local competition. If he manages to maintain these levels of local support into the second round, then this can be considered a powerful mandate to take with him in the Parliament, particularly given the respectable size of the voter turnout.
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.
The 62.3% turnout can be considered a good result for a constituency with such a mixture of affiliations, and is certainly in part due the strength of the competition between candidates in this district.
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.
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
5th Capital – Nasser al-Qaseer vs. Wafa Ajoor
Areas covered: Bilad al-Qadeem, Zinj, Salmaniya, Segaiya, Mahooz and Abu Asheera
Housing blocks: 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 334, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 363, 364
Registered voters: 7,782
Total number of votes: 2515
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 2282
Percentage voter turnout: 32.3%
Votes per candidate:
Nasir al-Qaseer – 821 (36.0%)
Wafa Ajoor – 523 (22.9%)
Defeated candidates: Adel Al Safr – 368 (16.1%); Mamoud al-Hamar – 143 (6.3%); Hussain Bukhamas – 118; Kadhim al-Uwaynati – 117; Ibrahim al-Awadhi – 96; Basimah Saleh – 64; Rashad Umar – 32
In a vigourous first-round campaign Nasser al-Qaseer consistently came through as one of the more consistent campaigners, although he himself may be surprised at the strength of his support in the first round vote, seeing off rivals like businessman Adel Al Safr who seemed to have far greater campaign funds available.
Wafa Ajoor has also done very well to make it through to the second round, as a medical consultant, she seems to have little practical political experience, but perhaps her claim that she helped most of the women in her constituency to give birth may have been a factor!
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.
In Al-Shamari’s absence, it was far from clear who would come to the fore in this contest, although both Nasser al-Qaseer and Wafa Ajour had been out competing hard for support.
Although Al-Qaseer came out ahead against Ajoor, the situation could still reverse itself in the second round, depending on who the wider public lines up behind.
The inclusion of several opposition strongholds made 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.
The 32.3% first round turnout can be considered low, given the intensity of the campaigning in this district. The two candidates will be working hard to try and widen the participation for the second round.
Nasser Abdulridha Mohammed Ali al-Qaseer
“The current situation requires change, in terms of increasing standards of living and improving oversight and legislation;” Al-Qaseer told Al-Ayam newspaper.
Qaseer is a prominent advocate for strengthening Bahrain’s sporting achievements. His sporting roles include being treasurer of the Basketball Association. On 12 November Nasser opened his elections HQ.
Al-Qaseer 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”.
*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.
6th Capital –Ali al-Atish (MP) vs. Abdullah al-Kooheji
Areas covered: Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla
Housing blocks: 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 405, 407, 411, 413, 419, 421, 423, 425, 701, 705, 707, 711, 713
Registered voters: 10,946
Total number of votes: 2864
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 2487
Percentage voter turnout: 26.2%
Votes per candidate:
Ali Hassan Ahmed Alial-Atish (MP, Rabitah) – 1039 (41.8%)
Abdullah al-Kooheji – 835 (33.6%)
Defeated candidates: Masoumah Abdulrahim – 438 (17.6%); Ihsan al-Faraj – 63; Abdulnabi Mahdi – 112
Al-Atish is a former MP representing the Al-Rabitah Society. Although he was the incumbent, Al-Atish’s election campaign was relatively low-key, in comparison with some of his rivals, so many people will be surprised at him coming so far ahead of the competition.
Businessman Abdullah al-Kooheji was the most visible contestant in this constituency and clearly invested a lot in his campaign. However, he may struggle to catch up with Al-Atish for the second round vote.
The decisive factor may be whether Al-Atish’s political experience, or Al-Kooheji’s efforts to further promote himself, is the decisive factor in encouraging people to vote.
Several areas of this district were incorporated from parts of the Northern Governorate, producing an area where opposition support is prevalent. The 26.2% shows that the opposition’s efforts to shore up the boycott were partially successful, but that many people still braved the threats and warnings to come out and vote.
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.
Ali Hassan Ahmed Ali al-Atish – Rabitah
Al-Atish is a former MP, associated with the Rabitah Society. He appears not to have sought any media coverage at all during this campaign.
During his time in the Parliament, Al-Atish was chairman of the legislative and legal affairs committee.
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
7th Capital – Osamah al-Khajah vs. Zainab Abdulamir
Areas covered: Jid Ali, Jurdab
Housing blocks: 709, 721, 729, 733, 816
Registered voters: 10,695
Total number of votes: 4927
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 4431
Percentage voter turnout: 46.1%
Votes per candidate:
Osamah al-Khajah – 1458 (32.9%)
Zainab Abdulamir – 1092 (24.6%)
Defeated candidates: Khalid al-Quwwati – 656 (14.8%); Ridha Shukrallah – 615 (13.9%); Abdullah al-Dirazi – 610 (13.8%)
Despite this being her first attempt at elections participation, many commented favourably on the way Zainab Abdulamir went about her campaign, which was well covered in the media. Businessman Osamah al-Khajah also fought a strong campaign.
Al-Khajah was beaten by Sumayah al-Jowder in the second round of the 2011 by-election, despite Al-Khajah having won the first round. Al-Khajah will be campaigning hard to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself this time.
At a national level, Deputy-head of the National Institution for Human Rights, Dr. Ali al-Dirazi, was the most talked-about figure in this constituency and as a result, he came to be seen as a favourite. However, on the day he was the lowest-polling candidate.
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.
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.
In the past this area has tended to have one of the higher 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.
In this context the 46.1% turnout will come as something of a relief to many, although both these candidates will be looking to encourage more of the public to come out in the second round.
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.
*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
8th Capital – Winner by default; Majid al-Asfour
Areas covered: Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza
Housing blocks: 380, 381, 382, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606
Registered voters: 9,372
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 Mohsin 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. 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.
9th Capital – Ibrahim al-Asfour vs. Mohammed Jaafar
Areas covered: Southern Sitra, East Eker
Housing blocks: 607, 608, 609, 611, 623, 624, 633, 634
Registered voters: 9,591
Total number of votes: 921
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 772
Percentage voter turnout: 9.6%
Votes per candidate:
Ibrahim al-Asfour – 302 (39.1%)
Mohammed Jaafar – 266 (34.5%)
Defeated candidate: Mohammed Al Shaikh – 204 (26.4%)
With such a low turnout it was almost a matter of luck which of the three candidates made it to the second round and there has been little active campaigning in this area. Neither Ibrahim al-Asfour or Mohammed Jaafar have had any coverage in the mainstream media in the weeks leading up to the elections. However, Ibrahim al-Asfour has 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.
This constituency is another entirely new area, made up of several former districts. Being centred around Sitra and Al-Eker, it was inevitable that the boycott would be strong here.
With a turnout of just 9.6%, the opposition will see this as a success. However, this is after a campaign of intimidation against local candidates, with several figures having had their homes, businesses and cars attacked, promotional material for the elections has been vandalized and destroyed, and those participating in the elections have been threatened through the social media and called “traitors”.
In Sitra itself, there has been no elections posters or promotional material and little evidence of campaigning activity. There were six candidates in this constituency. Three withdrew. One of these – former MP Osama Muhanna al-Tamimi was forced to withdraw by a court order following a petition that his address was not legally within the constituency. Earlier in 2014 Al-Tamimi was thrown out of Parliament for behaviour unbecoming of an MP.
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.
Mohammed Jaffar Milad Abbas
Mohammed Jaffar has made it through to the second round with few visible signs of a candidacy campaign, no coverage in the media and little evidence of attempts to reach out to the wider public and explain his campaign priorities.
10th Capital – Nabil al-Balooshi vs. Ali Ishaqi
Areas covered: West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town
Number of candidates: 15
Housing blocks: 625, 626, 644, 743, 745, 815
Registered voters: 10,046
Total number of votes: 4961
Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 4592
Percentage voter turnout: 49.4%
Votes per candidate:
Nabil al-Balooshi – 877 (19.1%)
Ali Ishaqi – 758 (16.5%)
Defeated candidates: Adel Abduljalil – 593 (12.9%), Atiyatallah Al Sinan – 533 (11.6%), Wajih Baqer (Mithaq) – 410 (8.9%), Khalifa Sulaibikh – 328, Mohammed al-Markh – 164, Lulwah Mutlaq (Watan) – 267, Salman al-Saffar – 129, Sumayah al-Jowder (MP) – 77, Noura Matouq – 70, Yassir al-Khayyat – 62, Yassir Bukhuwwah – 55, Tariq al-Tamimi – 58, Abdulhamid al-Baqishi – 12
Early on in the contest there was little reason to single out Ali Ishaqi as a frontrunner among the 15 candidates, although he gained a respectable share of the vote during the 2010 elections. Ishaqi’s elections HQ only opened around four days before the elections, and it was only around that time he started appearing in the media.
However, Ishaqi gained a lot of last minute support when other popular MPs and candidates from other districts like Adel Asoumi (1st Capital) and Khalid al-Shaer (1st Southern) attended a public meeting in his campaign tent. His campaign has focused on national unity and consensus in a diverse constituency with a range of very different political affiliations.
Nabil al-Balooshi is a local Sunni cleric. As with many clerical figures who have stood in the elections, Al-Balooshi made few attempts to increase his exposure in the media, relying on his grassroots support as a prominent local figure with access to the pulpit every Friday.
Many people will be disappointed to see none of the three female candidates making it through into the second round, including incumbent MP Sumayah al-Jowder, who gained her seat in the 2011 by-election. Businesswoman Lulwah Mutlaq from Al-Watan Society had also been tipped to do well.
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. The turnout of nearly 50% in this diverse district is certainly lower than many would have wanted, and some pundits were hoping that the intensity of the campaigning between 15 candidates may bring a wider section of the general public out.
However, with some localities seeing high support for the boycott and active opposition to the elections process; along with other segments of society expressing their disappointment with the performance of previous MPs, such a statistic is not unexpected.
Nabil Abdullah Ali Mohammed al-Balooshi
Al-Balooshi is a local cleric. His campaign emphasizes “justice, dignity and security”. Al-Balooshi was singled out by local experts as a figure likely to do well in this contest because of his local prominence. @Na_albalooshi
Ali Mohammed Isa Abdullah Ishaqi
Ishaqi has said that he would prioritize economic growth, and that he would support greater cooperation between the Parliament and other departments to achieve this. He has talked about broadening the middle classes in Bahrain through raising standards of living and investing for the future, particularly for the benefit of upcoming generations.
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.”
Ishaqi said that he desired to “achieve social justice and enshrine the principle of equal opportunities”.