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.

1st Southern – Khalid al-Shaer vs. Adnan al-Maliki (MP Asalah)

 

Areas covered: Isa Town

Housing blocks: 718, 720, 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 808, 810

Registered voters: 7,998

Total number of votes: 5704

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 5422

Percentage voter turnout: 71.3%

 

Votes per candidate:

Khalid al-Shaer – 1797 (33.1%)

Adnan al-Maliki (MP Asalah) – 1198 (22.1%)

 

Defeated candidates: Ahmed al-Amer – 984 (18.5%); Khalid al-Qattan (Minbar) – 775 (14.3%); Jehan Mohammed (NUG) – 300 (5.5%); Jaffar al-Kharaz – 140; Abdulrahman Abdullah – 85; Salman al-Shaikh (MP) – 69; Anwar Qambar – 43; Abdulghani al-Haiki – 31

 

Candidate outline

 

Many Bahrainis were pleased to see Khalid al-Shaer perform so strongly in the first round of these elections. He is a young and popular figure and he gained widespread sympathy for the energetic way he competed in unsuccessful previous rounds of elections.

 

His victory is particularly significant given the abnormally tough nature of the competition in this 1st Southern constituency. Al-Shaer has come out ahead of two standing MPs, and he has outperformed the representatives of no less than three Sunni political societies: Asalah, Minbar and the National Unity Gathering.

 

In second place is MP and Asalah representative Adnan al-Maliki. Al-Maliki had waged a bruising and well-funded campaign and gave a bullish account of his record as an MP, so he will undoubtedly be disappointed not to have been the winner in this contest.

 

However, the supporters of the eight other defeated candidates now have to decide whether to vote for Al-Shaer or Al-Maliki in the second round, which could swing the vote decisively. For example, if Al-Maliki succeeded in gaining the support of the Minbar voters, that could put him ahead.

 

One of the scandals of the 2014 elections has been the alleged attack against candidateJehan Mohammed’s (NUG) campaign team by figures associated with Asalah. Details are murky and accusations have been cast by both sides, which may make this a slightly more-poisonous contest than the other relatively good-natured contests going on nearby.

 

Voter demographic

 

Moderate independent candidates have tended to perform well in this central area of Bahrain. However, the first round of the contest was distinguished by being a three-way battle between three prominent Sunni/loyalist political societies: Al-Asalah, Al-Minbar and the National Unity Gathering.

 

Perhaps this convincing win for Khalid al-Shaer will leave the societies wishing they had made more effort to coordinate their campaigns and avoid splitting the vote.

 

Khalid Abdulaziz Yousif al-Shaer

 

Al-Shaer told Al-Bilad newspaper that he had gained a lot of political experience since his failed candidacy in the previous elections when he came second against Isa al-Qadhi (now 2nd Southern). Al-Shaer said he would focus his campaign on developing human capital, housing and security.

 

Al-Shaer has proposed a mandatory period in which housing requests must be granted or the Housing Ministry would face fines.

 

At the opening of his campaign tent on 8 November, Al-Shaer promised “contemporary solutions” to the housing issue and stressed the need for a more systematic approach to improving standards of living, saying that the solutions that had been put forward “don’t amount to more than an attempt to stir up emotions”.

 

Al-Shaer has called for the new Parliament to pay greater attention to “food security” noting recent shortages in meat and other goods, leading to price inflation. He has also urged better conservation of Bahrain fishing stocks and better regulation of the fishing industry.

Al-Shaer said that the involvement of young people in politics “strengthens the democratic process and enriches the work of Parliament”. @alshaer_khalid

 

Adnan Mohammed Halal Ali al-Maliki – Asalah Incumbent

 

Al-Maliki stated that his society, Al-Asalah, wants to focus on improving standards of living and improving housing provision during the coming Parliament. Al-Maliki had been standing as an independent when he won his seat in 2010.

 

Al-Maliki praised the high local turnout in the first round of the elections calling it an “indicator of nationalism and awareness”.

 

Al-Maliki has been questioning how the dissolution of the Central Governorate will affect housing provision for the Isa Town area.

 

Al-Maliki: “I have a lot of popularity in this constituency because of the services I provided since I was a member of the Municipal Council and after becoming an MP”.

 

At a crowded public opening of his HQ, Al-Maliki told attendees that failing to vote and boycotts would weaken Bahrain’s position and would encourage “foreign interference”.

 

Al-Maliki seems to have had nothing to do with the attack on Jehan’s team – the allegations concern the team of Asalah’s municipal candidate. However, with Asalah being portrayed by the NUG as the aggressor, which rejects women’s participation in the vote, these incidents may have reflected negatively on Al-Maliki’s campaign. @ALMALIKIADNAN

 

 

2nd Southern – Mohammed al-Ahmed vs. Isa al-Qadhi (MP)

 

Areas covered: Isa Town, Zayid Town

Housing blocks: 809, 812, 813, 814, 840, 841

Registered voters: 8,212

Total number of votes: 5793

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 5537

Percentage voter turnout: 70.5%

 

Votes per candidate:

Mohammed al-Ahmed – 1519 (27.4%)

Isa al-Qadhi (MP) – 1169 (21.1%)

 

Defeated candidates: Faydh al-Sharqawi – 1012 (18.3%); Yaqoub Nassim – 983 (17.8%); Abdulaziz Matar – 317 (5.7%); Mohammed al-Dhawadi – 274; Ahmed Matar – 173; Ahmed al-Murbati – 90

 

Candidate outline

 

Journalist Mohammed al-Ahmed is a strong and engaging personality who has used his media experience to make himself one of the most visible candidates in the 2014 contest.

 

In a crowded 2nd Southern contest Al-Ahmed has done well to win so convincingly. It seems likely that his skills in winning over the public will get him through the second round and in to Parliament.

 

Incumbent MP Isa al-Qadhi has faced criticism from other candidates and members of the public for his performance as an MP and he seems to have fought a somewhat lackluster campaign.

 

Whereas many figures praised the high number of contestants registering for the 2014 elections, Al-Qadhi derided this as a bad thing for Bahrain, saying many of the candidates were purely in the competition for financial motives.

 

In a contest with many colourful and optimistic-sounding candidates, the small amounts of media coverage Isa al-Qadhi has gained has tended to strike an unfortunately negative note. With nearly 80 percent of those who voted choosing candidates other than their standing MP, it seems unlikely that Al-Qadhi can win this battle.

 

Voter demographic

 

The working-class conurbations of Isa Town and Zayid Town were part of the now non-existent Central Governorate. These areas have historically been the most favourable for liberal, technocratic, female and broadly-speaking progressive candidates.

 

In these somewhat more-diverse areas political societies – loyalist or opposition – have often struggled to make headway. Hence, all nine candidates in the first round were independents.

 

Mohammed Salman Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmed

 

Al-Ahmed has been one of the more visible candidates. One of his promotional posters cites his priorities as “Standard of living… then standard of living… then standard of living”.

 

After his convincing first round win, he announced that he had been so impressed with the elections platforms of his rival candidates that he was adopting “all of these… to avoid them going to waste”.

 

Journalist Al-Ahmed has praised the recent electoral boundary changes as “making a big

difference to the political map” and has stressed the importance of independent monitors for guaranteeing transparency and fairness for the elections. Al-Ahmed in an interview with Al-Bilad newspaper also stressed the importance of combatting extremist groups like ISIS.

 

Al-Ahmed has been outspoken in warning about increases in personal debt, out of proportion with the relatively low wages of ordinary citizens. He noted in comments to Al-Ayam that 72,000 citizens had wages lower than 400 dinars (approx. $1060) per month. “Improving living standards must occur in parallel with reducing public debt” stressed Al-Ahmed.

 

Isa Ali Jamal al-Qadhi – Incumbent

 

Al-Qadhi is an independent MP who won his seat in a second-round run-off in 2010.

 

Al-Qadhi, in comments to Al-Wasat newspaper, accused many candidates of simply participating for “financial motives”; saying that the large number of candidates in these elections was a negative phenomenon. @isaalqadhi

 

 

3rd Southern – Winning candidate: Abdulhalim Murad (MP Asalah)

 

Areas covered: North Riffa, Hajiat

Housing blocks: 922, 933, 934, 935, 937, 941

Registered voters: 7,227

Total number of votes: 6093

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 5861

Percentage voter turnout: 84.3%

 

Votes per candidate:

Abdulhalim Murad (MP Asalah) – 2,964 (63.4%) ****

 

Defeated candidates: Mohammed al-Housani – 841 (14.4%); Naji al-Dossary – 630 (10.7%); Hassan al-Ali – 331 (5.7%); Abdullah al-Hajji – 303; Mohammed al-Maloud – 40

 

Candidate outline

 

Asalah MP Abdulhalim Murad was always the clear favourite in this constituency, so the question always was: Which one of the rival contestants could gain enough support to mount a credible challenge to Murad and perhaps push the contest into a second round?

 

At the end of the day, none of the five other candidates succeeded in building up a sufficient public profile to counter popular support for Murad, who dominated the media coverage, waged the most visible local campaign and strongly defended his record in office. His outright win with 63% of the vote gives him a huge local mandate and guarantees that he will continue to be one of the political heavyweights in the coming Parliament.

 

Asalah, in the three Southern constituencies they contested in the first round (1st, 3rd & 5th Southern) fought a vigourous campaign. Their campaign posters are often the most visible and these candidates have been pushing their strong record of service as municipal councilors and deputies.

 

However, of these three Asalah contestants, Murad is the only one to win outright, Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab was pushed out of the competition in 5th Southern, and Adnan al-Maliki came a fairly distant second to Khalid al-Shaer in 1st Southern but gets to contest the second round.

 

Voter demographic

 

This constituency is in the central loyalist heartland of Al-Riffa. An older generation of voters can be expected to support establishment figures who espouse unwavering support for the Monarchy and Islamic values. However, the 84% turnout shows the success of the candidates in engaging all the local demographics, including encouraging younger voters to come out in large numbers.

 

Abdulhalim Abdulaziz Ahmed Murad – Asalah Incumbent

 

Murad is a prominent local cleric and one of Al-Asalah’s best-known public faces.

 

Abdulhalim Murad has been in the Parliament since 2006. Murad’s campaign emphasized a strong record of raising issues in Parliament, challenging the Government on budgetary issues and defending local interests. @Murad_bh

 

4th Southern – Mohammed al-Maarifi vs. Abdulhamid al-Shaikh

 

Areas covered: Nuwaidrat, Sanad, Hajiat

Housing blocks: 643, 645, 646, 929, 931, 939

Registered voters: 8,589

Total number of votes: 6815

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 6478

Percentage voter turnout: 79.3%

 

Votes per candidate:

Mohammed al-Maarifi – 2656 (41.0%)

Abdulhamid al-Shaikh – 1824 (28.2)

 

Defeated candidates: Ibrahim al-Mannai – 772 (11.9%); Nabil al-Musaifar – 515 (8.0%); Abdulrahman Abdulkarim – 385; Ashraf al-Assar – 216; Faisal al-Bufalah – 110

 

Candidate outline

 

Minbar’s candidate, Hashim al-Madani, had his candidacy disallowed after rival Al-Maarifi submitted evidence that Al-Madani’s legal address wasn’t in the constituency. Al-Madani’s exclusion left Al-Maarifi as by far the most visible candidate. Huge Al-Maarafi billboards are everywhere and he had been one of first to open his campaign headquarters.

 

Abdulhamid al-Shaikh has been competing hard at a grassroots level to get his supporters out, attending numerous “majlis” sessions with local people to hear their concerns and answer questions.

 

In the Southern constituencies in particular, this high level of personal interaction seems to have been far more crucial for successful candidates than activity in the media and social media, leading to strong results for many candidates with little profile at a national level.

 

Voter demographic

 

This is a mixed – opposition/loyalist Sunni/Shia – constituency which will make the results very interesting, particularly as this constituency is another product of boundary changes and the abolition of the Central Governorate.

 

Nuaidrat and Sanad are traditionally Shia, but many of the other areas are Sunni or mixed. There are reports that candidate billboards have been defaced in the Sanad area. Given these factors, a turnout of 80% is very impressive.

 

Mohammed Yousif Mohammed al-Maarifi

 

Al-Maarifi had been tipped to be representing the National Unity Gathering. However, after not being included on their final list he is running as an independent. He has been one of the more visible figures since early on in the contest.

 

Al-Maarifi told Al-Watan newspaper that he was working with a “team of experts and specialists to prepare a time-based plan to solve the housing crisis” in his constituency. Businessman Al-Maarifi has stressed the importance of economic experts in the coming Parliament in order to promote economic growth and address the challenges the country faces. Al-Marifi came third in the 2010 elections with 610 votes.

 

Abdulhamid Ali Yousif Sulaiman al-Shaikh

 

Promotional slogan: “I’ll be honoured to serve you, for building a better future”.

 

Al-Shaikh’s campaign has not received coverage in the national media and much of his promotional material is somewhat vague about what his policy positions would be if he makes it to Parliament.

 

He has a mountain to climb to present serious competition for Al-Maarifi in the second round, but the fact that he has got so far is testament to his hard campaigning at a local level and reaching out to a wide swathe of constituents.

 

 

5th Southern – Khalifa al-Ghanim vs. Fawzia Zainal

 

Areas covered: West Riffa, Haniniyah, Bukuwarah

Housing blocks: 901, 903, 905, 910, 925, 927

Registered voters: 8,788

Total number of votes: 7502

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 7258

Percentage voter turnout: 85.4%

 

Votes per candidate:

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 2196 (30.3%)

Fawzia Zainal – 2095 (28.9%)

 

Defeated candidates: Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab (Asalah) – 1774 (24.4%); Adel al-Rowaei – 725 (10.0%); Nayef al-Jassim – 431 (5.9%); Mohammed Qarratah – 37

 

Candidate outline

 

Women’s activist Fawzia Zaynal is a popular figure who has a proven public following after contesting several rounds of parliamentary elections. Her campaigning experience has shown through with her gaining a lot of media coverage for her campaign and being one of the first to open her local headquarters to constituents.

 

As one of the few female candidates making it through to the second round and a seasoned campaigner who cares passionately about the issues she promotes, many Bahrainis would be very pleased to see Fawzia finally make it into Parliament.

 

Khalifa al-Ghanim is a respected local personality who performed impressively in the first round. However, he has shunned the national media in his campaign and his Twitter messages give away very little about his elections platform. So clearly the success of his campaign is based on a large amount of personal interaction with constituents.

 

Few expected Al-Asalah’s Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab to fail to make it into the second round, particularly as his Asalah teammate Abdulhalim al-Murad won so easily next door in 3rd Southern.

 

Voter demographic

 

This is a fiercely loyalist district in the ruling family’s heartland of Riffa. However, even here, voter participation cannot be taken for granted and candidates have had to reach out to younger voters, the professional classes and more disenfranchised sections of the electorate.

 

Boundary changes for this recently-expanded district and those in the vicinity mean that previous assumptions about favoured candidates in this area didn’t necessarily apply, forcing candidates to work harder to win over a broader demographic of supporters.

 

The remarkable turnout of over 85% shows how successful candidates were in mobilizing support and encouraging political engagement.

 

*Fawzia Abdullah Yousif Zainal

 

Fawzia, a women’s activist, has contested three rounds of parliamentary elections without yet winning a seat.

 

During statements made in October Fawzia said that her campaign platform would focus on women and improving their living conditions, particularly divorced women or those bringing up families. Fawzia says that housing is also one of her priorities, as well as addressing unemployment and fighting corruption.

 

Fawzia stressed the need for “fundamental solutions to the issue of unemployment, supporting pensioners and improving living conditions, especially for divorced women and children”.

 

However, in media comments made in November, Fawzia said that she put “legal protection for security men and improving their situation” at the top of her priorities.

 

Fawzia came second in the 2006 elections with a respectable 2,283 votes. @fawziazainal5

 

Khalifa Abdullah Mohammed al-Ghanim

 

Khalifa al-Ghanim has received no media coverage so far and his Twitter account gave little away about his policies and priorities. He hosted a crowded event on 17 November to mark the opening of his campaign headquarters.

 

During October, Al-Ghanim denied reports that he was affiliating himself with the Mithaq Society. @khalifaalghanem

 

6th Southern – Anis Buhindi vs. Mohammed al-Buainain (Mithaq)

 

Areas covered: Northern Riffa, Bukuwarah

Housing blocks: 913, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 919, 921, 923

Registered voters: 8,262

Total number of votes: 6937

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 6664

Percentage voter turnout: 84.0%

 

Votes per candidate:

Anas Buhindi – 2310 (34.7%)

Mohammed al-Buainain (Mithaq) – 1040 (15.6%)

 

Defeated candidates: Ibrahim Fakhro – 943 (14.2%); Nawal al-Dossary – 658 (9.9%); Salah Khalifa – 613 (9.2%); Yousif al-Hamdan – 475; Khalifa al-Dossary – 310; Layla Rajab (Al-Watani al-Hurr) – 179; Abdullah Baqer – 136

 

Candidate outline

 

The most prominent figure at a national level in this constituency is Mohammed al-Buainain, head of the Mithaq Society, which is part of the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition.

 

However, many people had earlier remarked on the high levels of local support that Sunni cleric Anis Buhindi could count on, so Buhindi’s win was not a complete surprise.

 

With Buhindi winning more than twice as many votes as Al-Buaynayn, the second round vote may seem a foregone conclusion. However, Buhindi only picked up 35% of the first round vote, so much depends on which candidate gets the support of those who voted for other candidates the first time around.

 

Al-Mithaq still have one other candidate in the race – Ibrahim al-Mannai in 4th Capital – but he also came a fairly distant second place to Abdulrahman Bumajid. So it is likely that none of Mithaq’s candidates will make it through to Parliament; a further blow to the Al-Fateh Coalition, which has seen all of its seven NUG candidates out of the race, Al-Wasat’s Ahmed Al Binali beaten into second place in 3rd Muharraq and uncertain prospects for the Minbar candidates.

 

Voter demographic

 

One of the big stories of the elections was the announcement of Khalifa al-Dhahraini, the head of the previous Parliament, that he wouldn’t be standing. Al-Dhahrani had been one of Bahrain’s most-long serving and highly respected MPs and if he had decided to participate his electoral success was considered a certainty.

 

Al-Dhahrani’s non-appearance opens up the field for a broad group of untested candidates. This is a safe loyalist seat in an area which has tended to prefer independent candidates.

 

Anas Ali Ali Saif Buhindi

 

Shaikh Anis Buhindi is a prominent local cleric and could well turn out to be one of the stronger-performing candidates. He said the housing file needed a “complete strategic overhaul” in the coming Parliament and observed that the legislative and executive bodies should work more effectively together.

 

Buhindi also talked about raising standards of living, fighting corruption and promoting the economy. @AnasBuhendi

 

Mohammed Shaheen Tawq al-Buainain – Mithaq

 

Al-Buainain is Secretary-General of Al-Mithaq al-Amal al-Watani (National Action Charter) Society. He appears to have delayed his candidacy until the last minute to ensure Al-Dhahrani wasn’t standing.

 

Al-Buaynayn has called for head-to-head contests between elections contestants to help voters reach their decision.

 

 

7th Southern – Abdullah Bin-Huwail vs. Ahmed al-Dossary

 

Areas covered: Nuwaidrat, West Riffa, Rawdhah

Housing blocks: 746, 748, 902, 904, 906, 908, 912, 920, 924, 926, 928, 930, 932

Registered voters: 8,304

Total number of votes: 6712

Valid votes (excluding void ballots):  6478

Percentage voter turnout: 80.8%

 

Votes per candidate:

Abdullah Bin-Huwail (MP) – 2938 (45.4%)

Ahmed al-Dossary – 2775 (42.8%)

 

Anwar al-Mohammed – 765 (11.8%)

 

Candidate outline

 

This campaign has come in almost exactly as people predicted, with standing MP Bin Huwail as the winner. However, Ahmed al-Dossary is only a couple of percentage points behind him.

 

MP Abdullah Bin-Huwail, is popular locally and well-known at a national level, having headed the “Independents Bloc” in Parliament. Another MP, Ahmed al-Mulla, changed his electoral address (to 10th Southern) to avoid standing in the same constituency as Bin-Huwail.

 

However, second-round rival Ahmed al-Dossary has been sharply critical of the record of standing MPs, accusing them of failing the public due to the lack of necessary skills. It remains to be seen whether Ahmed gan gain the required extra votes to beat Bin-Huwail on 29 November.

 

In a constituency where local connections mean everything, Ahmed al-Dossary and Bin-Huwail seems have been waging an intense campaign at a grassroots level to widen their support base. This means attending and hosting numerous “majlis” sessions where local people get to interact with the candidates directly; asking questions and raising issues which concern them.

 

Voter demographic

 

The 7th Southern district is one of the more diverse areas in southern Bahrain. It is effectively a new constituency, given the extent of the new borders, which encompass Sunni Riffa and Shia Nuaidrat. A significant proportion of people from this area work for the army.

 

This area is known for its tribal ties and so three of the original four candidates hail from the Sunni Dossary and Al Marra tribal families.

 

Abdullah Ali Jabir Bin-Huwail – Incumbent

 

Bin-Huwail: The boycott has failed. The nation is ready to participate and decide its own destiny”.

 

Bin-Huwail said that he had decided to continue as an independent because “the independent bloc has proved its role in advancing numerous issues in the 2010 Parliament”.

 

Ahmed Faisal Jabr al-Dossary

 

Al-Dossary has been active promoting himself through supporters online and in organizing local gatherings to widen his support base.

 

The opening of his campaign headquarters was attended by hundreds of local people, and several well-known figures like Abdullah al-Dossary and rejected contestant Sharikh al-Dossary. At this event Ahmed called for the setting up of a local fund to support people in the constituency suffering from hardship.

 

Al-Dossary has called for the media to encourage a greater role for women in society and politics. He credited the private sector and bodies like the Higher Council for Women in establishing a principle of “participation and cooperation” for encouraging a greater role for women.

 

Ahmed al-Dossary was also critical for MPs from the previous Parliament who has said lacked the necessary skills for the challenges they faced.

 

He lists his priorities as providing suitable housing for local people and improving employment and educational prospects. @Ahmedaldoseri

 

 

8th Southern – Dhiyab al-Noaimi vs. Mohammed al-Sisi

 

Areas covered: Southern Sitra, Ma’amir, East Riffa, Awali, Mazrowiyah, Askar, Jaw, Dawr

Housing blocks: 613, 614, 615, 616, 635, 636, 907, 909, 911, 942, 943, 945, 946, 948, 949, 950, 951, 952, 953, 954, 955, 957, 958, 959, 960, 965, 981, 982, 983, 985

Registered voters: 6,451

Total number of votes: 5296

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 5178

Percentage voter turnout: 82.1%

 

Votes per candidate:

Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 1901 (36.7%)

Mohammed al-Sisi – 1082 (20.9)

 

Defeated candidates: Jassim al-Saeedi (MP) – 989 (19.1%); Mohammed al-Awdhani – 748 (14.5); Abdullah al-Azami – 311; Noura Bushehri – 96; Ali al-Rumaihi – 51

 

Candidate outline

 

Independent candidate Dhiyab al-Noaimi has succeeded in winning twice as many votes as incumbent MP Jassim al-Saeedi, in one of the shock results of the contest, beating Al-Saeedi into third place. As by far the best-known figure in this district, many took Al-Saeedi’s successful candidacy for granted, particularly as his rivals had relatively little media exposure during this campaign.

 

Al-Saeedi is a controversial Sunni preacher who has been outspoken in attacking the opposition since the 2011 unrest. This led to charges of sectarianism, but increased his public profile. Saeedi has held a parliamentary seat since 2002.

 

From the beginning of this contest, Jassim al-Saeedi conducted a confident and often brash campaign, based on his record as an MP since 2002 and an outspoken voice attacking the opposition over the previous three years. According to Al-Saeedi’s own claims, his election headquarters could seat far more people than the total number of registered voters!

 

However, Dhiyab al-Noaimi fought a hard campaign, during which he harshly criticized the performance of the previous Parliament. In an atmosphere where many Bahrainis have expressed discontent at what the last Parliament achieved, it may be that Al-Noaimi’s campaign platform was in tune with this frustration.

 

The strong showing for Mohammed al-Sisi, ahead of Al-Saeedi, is a surprising result, although he hails from the influential Al-Buaynayn family. Al-Sisi has been campaigning hard for the youth vote. So perhaps the reason for his success rests with his ability to engage with a younger generation, who struggle to identify with long standing MPs like Al-Saeedi.

 

Voter demographic

 

Recent constituency border changes have produced this rather odd constituency, ranging from the opposition home turf of Sitra to the loyalist hearth of Riffa.

 

The 8th Southern district lies to the south of Bahrain along the eastern coast, in an area with a relatively low population density. Despite its relatively large size, this is the constituency with the fourth lowest number of voters.

 

The expansion of this district has brought in a few Shia-majority areas, particularly to the northeast in Sitra, which may help encourage a more diverse range of public representatives.

 

Dhiyab Mohammed Mohammed Dhiyab al-Noaimi

 

Al-Noaimi: “Our aim is to support the democratic process and entrench its values, as well as strengthening parliamentary life in our kingdom”. @Theyabalnoaimi

 

Al-Noiami said he will concentrate on housing and promoting career opportunities for young people. He said that Bahrainis had “despaired” of the poor performance of previous parliaments and said that voters would lose trust in the process if many of the same faces made it back into Parliament.

 

Al-Noaimi described his motivation for declaring his candidacy as the “general climate of frustration in the district among citizens at the performance of the parliament in its previous sessions, made me certain of the need for new faces in the assembly to stem the hemorrhage and the absence of confidence in the parliamentary experience”.

 

Al-Noaimi said that his priorities were “supporting the democratic process and entrenching its principles and promoting parliamentary life”. He said he wanted to improve standards of living and address the concerns of people from the constituency.

 

Mohammed Ibrahim Ali Muhanna al-Sisi al-Buainain

 

The young candidate Mohammed al-Sisi is clearly campaigning on a platform to target the youth vote, a demographic which may feel it has previously been under-represented and which may not have felt inclined to vote for a long-standing MP like Al-Saeedi.

 

Al-Sisi: “Each generation has its own ideas. I’m from a different generation from previous deputies… it’s now our turn to move things forward. There is incomplete legislation that new needs new thinking in order to develop it.”

 

 

9th Southern – Mohsin al-Bakri vs. Mohammed al-Dossary

 

Areas covered: Southwest coast; Sakhir

Housing blocks: 944, 947, 976, 986, 1048, 1051, 1052, 1054, 1055, 1056, 1057, 1058, 1061, 1062, 1063, 1064, 1067, 1068, 1069, 1070, 1099

Registered voters: 5,090

Total number of votes: 3955

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 3832

Percentage voter turnout: 77.7%

 

Votes per candidate:

Mohsin al-Bakri – 1784 (46.6%)

Mohammed al-Dossary – 785 (20.5%)

 

Defeated candidates: Mohammed al-Quwwati (NUG) – 599 (15.6%); Mutib al-Dhawadi – 358 (9.3%); Yousif al-Dossary – 306

 

Candidate outline

 

Former municipal councilor Mohsin al-Bakri has come out ahead with more than twice the number of votes of his closest rival and just a few percentage points short of winning the seat outright.

 

Al-Bakri seems to be following the pattern of a few other figures who have progressed from being municipal councilor in their first term in office, head of the Municipal Council in the second, before making it into Parliament as an MP.

 

It is difficult to see how Mohammed al-Dossary can pose a serious challenge in the second round. The failure of the National Unity Gathering candidate to get more than 16% of the vote is a reflection of the society’s poor performance across all the constituencies it contested in 2014.

 

This contest changed dramatically after incumbent MP for three terms, Abdullah al-Dossary, was appointed by the King as secretary-general of the Assembly of Deputies, necessitating Al-Dossary’s withdrawal from the contest.

 

Voter demographic

 

The 9th Southern district is one of the three sparsely populated but geographically large southern constituencies that will certainly go to a loyalist candidate.

 

Independent candidates have traditionally performed strongly in the constituencies of the Southern Governorate. Tribal and familial ties are everything in these traditionally-minded locations, hence the prevalence of certain family names among the candidates.

 

Mohsin Ali Mohammed Abdullah al-Bakri

 

Al-Bakri served for two terms as a municipal councilor and was head of the council during his second term. Al-Bakri observed that the absence of political societies like Al-Minbar and Al-Asalah in the 9th district created a greater opening for independents like him. Al-Bakri is to prioritize improving standards of living and greater scrutiny of spending of public funds.

 

In a full page interview with Al-Watan newspaper, he identified monitoring government performance and fighting corruption as his two most important priorities.

 

Al-Bakri has praised the King’s initiative for building 40,000 new homes, but has called for existing projects to be accelerated.

 

Mohammed Ahmed Abdullatif al-Dossary

 

Mohammed al-Dossary had been included as one of the four candidates from the Mithaq Society, which is part of the Al-Fateh Coalition. However, on 13 October he announced that he would be standing as an independent candidate.

 

He told Al-Ayam newspaper that he was still a member of Al-Mithaq and “proud to be associated with it”. However, after canvassing views of constituents, “it became clear to me that people of the constituency didn’t accept candidates associated with political societies. Also my chances are better if I’m dissociated from Al-Mithaq Society or others”.

 

Mohammed clarified that if he was elected he would remain independent. “I will be close to all parties who collaborate to promote the reformist project, who preserve the established national fundamentals and who work to expand the margins of freedoms and democracy”.

 

 

10th Southern – Winning candidate: Ahmed al-Mulla

 

Areas covered: Southern Bahrain, Dawr & Hawar islands

Blocks: 961, 967, 971, 973, 987, 988, 989, 995, 997, 998, 999, 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1106, 1107, 1108, 1110, 1111, 1112, 1113

Registered voters: 2,368

Total number of votes: 1072

Valid votes (excluding void ballots): 1039

Percentage voter turnout: 45.3%

 

Votes per candidate:

Ahmed al-Mulla – 834 (80.27)

 

Defeated candidate: Khalid al-Dossary – 205 (19.7)

 

Candidate outline

 

There was little sense of a genuine contest in this district. To begin with, immediately after the registration process, this contest ended up in court, with Al-Dossary petitioning that Al-Mulla wasn’t qualified to stand in this constituency. The court ruled in Al-Mulla’s favour.

 

Then this contest disappeared from view altogether, with media rumours circulating that Khalid al-Dossary was considering withdrawal. Unsurprisingly, incumbent MP Al-Mullah won comfortably with 80% of the vote, soon followed by report that his rival had been threatened by court proceedings by members of the Dossary tribe who contested that Khalid wasn’t a Dossary at all.

 

Latifa al-Gaoud, who was Bahrain’s first female in 2006, has long held on to this constituency although she did not register to participate this time around.

 

Voter demographic

 

The 10th Southern district encompasses a large area of Bahrain’s southern landmass, but is sparse on population. With 2,368 registered voters, this is the constituency with by far the smallest number of voters in Bahrain (next smallest 9th Southern with 5,090 voters). However, prior to the electoral reforms this region only had around 1,175 registered voters.

 

10th Southern includes the Hawar Islands whose ownership was previously contested with Qatar, which in themselves have a landmass larger than most of Bahrain’s other constituencies.

 

The very low turnout compared to other Southern constituencies where participation of over 80% has been the norm, can perhaps be put down to the scattered nature of local populations, and the lack of serious competition for incumbent MP Ahmed al-Mulla.

 

An additional factor is that with Latifa al-Gaoud winning by default in both 2006 and 2010, there is no strong tradition of democratic participation in this rural and tribal area. In contrast to other areas of Bahrain, there has been no media coverage of this contest, so there is little sense of what local people think of their candidates or the issues they want to see addressed in the 2014 Parlaiment.

 

Ahmed Ibrahim Rashid Rashid al-Mulla – Incumbent

 

Al-Mulla had been set to stand in the 7th Southern constituency. However, he changed his address after seeing how the constituency border changes “weakened his chances”. He subsequently told journalists that he had not wanted to stand against the head of his “Independents Bloc” Abdullah Bin-Huwail.

 

Al-Mulla said that in the coming Parliament he wanted to concentrate on economic legislation in order to promote growth. He commented that the previous Parliament had spent a far greater portion of its time on criminal and judicial matters.

 

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