With three quarters of the 40 parliamentary seats going to new entrants, the biggest winners seem to be younger candidates campaigning on pro-youth issues and technocratic figures who have been promoting progressive agendas for boosting the economy and improving living standards.
The result is a disaster for the Sunni political societies, which emerge with only three seats; with independent Islamist figures like Jassim al-Saeedi and Mohammed Buqais having lost their seats in the first round.
In short, the 2014 elections favoured those who showed they had the skills and experience to address the issues that mattered to ordinary people concerned about jobs, housing and living standards; and penalized those who promoted ideology ahead of policies.
This was a good result for Bahrain and shows an impressive growth in political awareness, indicating that the general public gave careful consideration to their choices and gave their representatives a strong mandate for change and reform.
Headline statistic: Only ten MPs returning to Parliament, leaving exactly three-quarters of the 40 seats to be filled by new faces. This is after six MPs were beaten in the second round:
- In 1st Northern, MP Ali al-Dirazi was only 6 votes in front of Fatima al-Asfour in the first round, so it was no surprise to see Fatimah beat him in the second round.
- There was a similar situation for MP Ali Shamtout in 3rd Capital. He was 43 votes ahead of businessman Adel Abdulhamid who beat him in the second round, having spent that last three weeks campaigning hard to get ahead.
- MP Hassan al-Dossary lost the second round in 3rd Northern after winning in the first round, 1437 votes to 1086, against Hamad al-Dossary. Many observers had been indicating that locals would unite behind his rival, Hamad al-Dossary as a result of widespread local frustration regarding what Hassan achieved as an MP, particularly on the housing issue.
- In the contest between two sitting MPs, and members of rival Sunni political societies in 10th Northern, MP Mohammed al-Ammadi (Minbar) came out on top against Asalah’s MP Khalid al-Maloud, giving Minbar their only win.
- Asalah’s MP Adnan al-Maliki was beaten again in the second round by local favourite Khalid al-Shaer in 1st Southern.
- Unsurprisingly, Mohammed al-Ahmed beat MP Isa al-Qadhi in 2nd Southern after also beating him in the first round.
- The seven MPs who won in the second round had all won their first round contest, but failed to win outright. They were: Adel al-Asoumi (1st Capital), Ahmed Qarratah (2nd Capital), Abdulrahman Bumajid (4th Capital), Ali al-Atish (6th Capital), Abbas al-Madhi (6th Muharraq), Mohammed al-Ammadi (10th Northern) and Abdullah Bin-Huwail (7th Southern)
Headline statistic: Women win three seats in Parliament, out of the six female candidates who made it to the second round
- Women winning three of the six seats was not a bad result in the circumstances. Wafa Ajoor (5th Capital), Fawzia Zainal (5th Southern) and Zainab Abdulamir (7th Capital) had all come second in the first round, so it was not surprising they failed to win the seat.
- Rua al-Haiki (6th Northern and Jamila al-Sammak (12 Northern) won the second round after convincing wins in the first round.
- The third seat went to Fatima al-Asfour who lost by just six votes to incumbent MP Ali al-Dirazi in the first round.
- It is interesting to note that all three women are Shia and have won in constituencies that are broadly pro-opposition in orientation, although none of these women are known to be aligned with the opposition.
- Rua al-Haiki – based on her background in business and consultancy – highlighted her experience in addressing unemployment and promoting the economy; Fatimah al-Asfour was contesting on a pro-family agenda and Jamila al-Sammak has highlighted the importance of promoting national unity and reconciliation.
Bad result for political societies
Headline statistic: Just three seats in Parliament for the major Sunni political societies: Two for Asalah, one for Minbar
- This was a worse night than expected for the political societies after the hard-campaigning Ali Bufursan beat Minbar’s candidate, Saadi Mohammed, in 1st Muharraq.
- Minbar and Asalah were fighting for the same seat in both 10th Northern and 7th Muharraq. Minbar’s Mohammed al-Ammadi won on 10th Northern and Asalah’s Ali al-Muqla won in 7th Muharraq.
- Minbar’s Adel al-Dhawadi came second place in the first round to Isa al-Turki in 8th Northern and Asalah’s Adnan al-Maliki trailed to Khalid al-Shaer in 1st Southern in the first round. The results for the second round came in in exaclly the same order, leaving the Asalah and Minbar candidates out of Parliament.
- The third seat for the political societies came in 3rd Southern with Abdulhalim Murad having won outright in the first round.
- The other societies within the Al-Fateh Coalition – Mithaq and Wasat – lost all the three seats they were contesting in the second round.
A defeat for the Islamists
Headline statistic: Sunni and Shia Islamist figures have been reduced to a small minority; with only around seven figures remaining in Parliament with a transparently Islamist orientation.
- This was the worst possible result for the Sunni Islamist societies, ahead of the second round they were guaranteed three seats, with two constituencies where only Asalah and Minbar were contesting and with Asalah’s Abdulhalim Murad already having won his seat. The maximum number of seats they could win was six. In the event they came out with just three seats and were defeated in all the seats where a political society was contesting against an independent.
- Even worse for the Islamists, two of their most outspoken independent MPs Jassim al-Saeedi and Mohammed Buqais were severely defeated in the first round.
- However, there are figures who may align themselves with the Sunni societies in the second round, the Sunni Islamic candidate Abdulhamid al-Najjar won in 9th Northern, having come second place in the first round, and Sunni clerics Anas Buhindi (6th Southern) and Nabil Balooshi (10th Capital) came out on top having competed against a host of rival candidates.
- Shia figures Majid al-Asfour and Majid al-Majid may also tactically align themselves with the Sunni MPs when Islamic issues are being debated.
- However, this is a Parliament that is broadly liberal and progressive in orientation, with pro-youth candidates, pro-business candidates and civil society candidates easily outnumbering these clearly Islamist figures.
Good result for youth candidates
Headline statistic: Approximately one third of the new Parliament is made up of younger figures who campaigned on issues specifically to benefit young people, like unemployment, youth facilities and homes for young families.
- Several of the figures who were campaigning on a pro-youth agenda, and who are young figures themselves have made it into Parliament.
- Khalid al-Shaer and journalist Mohammed al-Ahmed (1st & 2nd Southern) won convincing victories over strong rivals; Standing MP Hassan al-Dossary was defeated by his former campaign manager Hamad al-Dossary, who used his campaigning experience and ability to engage with the youth and use new forms of media.
- Young figures like Jalal Kadhim and Ghazi Al Rahmah won in pro-opposition areas using campaigns strongly geared towards the youth.
- We shouldn’t also forget the young women Rua al-Haiki, Fatimah al-Asfour and Jamila al-Sammak; who are younger figures and waged campaigns that sought to engage young people.
- Ali al-Aradi, a consultant in the Bahrain Chamber for Conflict Resolution (5th Northern); Nasser al-Qaseer, a Basketball Association official (5th Capital) and Mohammed Jaafar (9th Capital) can also be seen in the context of the “injection of new blood” that so many people were saying the Parliament needed.
Pro-business and technocratic candidates
Headline statistic: Around a third of the new Parliament comes from a business background or comes in with technocratic skills and an agenda for an agenda for addressing macroeconomic challenges
- Businessman Mohammed al-Maarifi was always the favourite in 4th Southern and won both rounds convincingly. In 3rd Capital Adel Abdulhamid, a prominent business figure, succeeded in displacing MP Ali Shamtout.
- Incumbent MP Adel al-Asoumi is also a businessman and business figure Osamah al-Khajah always looked like the strongest candidate in the 7th Capital seat. Several others also come from a business background.
- Business consultant Rua al-Haiki and Chamber for Conflict Resolution Consultant Ali al-Aradi won their seats on a strongly technocratic agenda, for addressing unemployment, promoting the economy and improving living standards.
- Khalid al-Shaer, Ali Bufursan, Ghazi Al Rahmah and Mohammed al-Ahmed also campaigned on similar issues, with all these figures showing a sophisticated approach to setting out their policy platforms, spelling out how they would address complex issues like unemployment, housing, economic growth, public debt and supporting small businesses.
- However, all these figures are new to Parliament, so their ability to address these issues in practice remains to be seen.
Second round contest at a glance
Manama northeast coast, Diplomatic Area, Houra, Qudaybiya
Registered voters: 6,317
% first round turnout: 72.0%
Adel al-Asoumi (MP) – winner
Central Manama, Burhama, Salehiya, Suwayfiyah
Registered voters: 8,361
% first round turnout: 33.3%
Ahmed Qaratah (MP) – winner
Sanabis, Karbabad, Seef
Registered voters: 10,225
% first round turnout: 9.8%
Adel Abdulhamid – winner
Ali Shamtout (MP)
Fateh, Juffair, Ghuraifa, Mina Salman, Umm AlHassam, Abu-Ghazzal, Adliya
Registered voters: 7,014
% first round turnout: 62.3%
Abdulrahman Bumjaid (MP) – winner
Ibrahim al-Mannai (Mithaq)
Bilad al-Qadeem, Zinj, Salmaniya, Segaiya, Mahooz and Abu Asheera
Registered voters: 7,782
% first round turnout: 32.3%
Nasser al-Qaseer- winner
Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla
Registered voters: 10,946
% first round turnout: 26.2%
Ali Hassan Ahmed al-Atish (MP, Rabitah) – winner
Jid Ali, Jurdab
Registered voters: 10,695
% first round turnout: 46.1%
Osamah al-Khajah – winner
8th Capital – no second round vote
Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza
Registered voters: 9,372
Dr. Majid al-Asfour – winner (default)
Southern Sitra, East Eker
Registered voters: 9,591
% first round turnout: 9.6%
Mohammed Jaffar – winner
West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town
Registered voters: 10,046
% first round turnout: 49.4%
Nabil al-Balooshi – winner
Registered voters: 8,071
% first round turnout: 85.4%
Ali Bufarsan – winner
Saadi Mohammed (Minbar)
Registered voters: 7,563
% first round turnout: 79.5%
Ibrahim al-Hammadi – winner
Muharraq central, Qalali
Registered voters: 7,563
% first round turnout: 77.6%
Jamal Buhassan – winner
Ahmed Al Binali (Wasat)
4th Muharraq – no second round vote
Registered voters: 7,904
% first round turnout: 78.7%
Isa al-Kooheji (MP) – winner (1st round)
Northeast Muharraq; Amwaj Islands; Qalali
Registered voters: 7,199
% first round turnout: 87.6%
Mohammed al-Jowder – winner
Dair & Samaheej
Registered voters: 7,762
% first round turnout: 11.1%
Abbas al-Madhi (MP) – winner
Registered voters: 13,204
% first round turnout: 74.2%
Ali al-Muqla (Asalah) – winner
Nasir al-Fadhalah (Minbar)
8th Muharraq – no second round vote
Southern Muharraq; Hidd
Registered voters: 9,065
% first round turnout: 85.9%
Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – winner (1st round)
Hilla, Meqsha, Karranah, Janusan, Barbar, Diraz
Registered voters: 10,749
% first round turnout: 8.1%
Fatimah al-Asfour – winner
Ali al-Dirazi (MP)
Markh, Bani Jamra, Diraz
Registered voters: 6,970
% first round turnout: 8.0%
Jalal Kadhim – winner
Budaiya, Haniniyah, Jasra, Hamala,
Registered voters: 6,082
% first round turnout: 64.4%
Hamad al-Dossary – winner
Hassan al-Dossary (MP)
Jidhafs, Jablat Habshi, North Sehla, Qadam, Abu-Quwwah
Registered voters: 9,277
% first round turnout: 27.0%
Ghazi Al Rahmah – winner
Qadam, Hajar, Abu Saiba, Shakhurah, Muqaba, Diraz, Sar, Markh
Registered voters: 10,388
% turnout: 16.3%
Ali al-Aradi – winner
Registered voters: 10,704
% first round turnout: 20.2%
Rua al-Haiki – winner
Mohammed Al Asfour
Al-Qurayah, Janabiyah, Buri, Hamalah, Dumistan
Registered voters: 10,245
% first round turnout: 15.1%
Majid al-Majid – winner
Registered voters: 8,521
% first round turnout: 71.9%
Isa Turki – winner
Adel al-Dhawadi (Minbar)
Registered voters: 12,315
% first round turnout: 40.5%
Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – winner
Housing blocks: 1218, 1214, 1212, 1208
Registered voters: 10,552
% first round turnout: 73.5%
Mohammed al-Ammadi (MP Minbar) – winner
Khalid al-Maloud (MP Asalah)
11th Northern – no second round vote
Hamad Town, Dar Kulayb
Registered voters: 12,341
% first round turnout: 43.7%
Jamal Dawoud – winner (1st round)
Dumistan, Luzi, Karzakan, Malikiyah, Sadad, Shahrakan, Safariyah
Registered voters: 11,323
% first round turnout: 21.7%
Jamila al-Sammak – winner
Registered voters: 7,998
% first round turnout: 71.3%
Khalid al-Shaer – winner
Adnan al-Maliki (MP Asalah)
Isa Town, Zayid Town
Registered voters: 8,212 % first round turnout: 70.5%
Mohammed al-Ahmed – winner
Isa al-Qadhi (MP)
3rd Southern – no second round vote
North Riffa, Hajiat
Registered voters: 7,227
% first round turnout: 84.3%
Abdulhalim Murad (MP Asalah) – winner (1st round)
Nuwaidrat, Sanad, Hajiat
Registered voters: 8,589
% first round turnout: 79.3%
Mohammed al-Maarifi – winner
West Riffa, Haniniyah, Bukuwarah
Registered voters: 8,788
% first round turnout: 85.4%
Khalifa al-Ghanim – winner
Northern Riffa, Bukuwarah
Registered voters: 8,262
% first round turnout: 84.0%
Anas Buhindi – winner
Mohammed al-Buainain (Mithaq)
Nuwaidrat, West Riffa, Rawdhah
Registered voters: 8,304
% first round turnout: 80.8%
Abdullah Bin-Huwail (MP) – winner
Southern Sitra, Ma’amir, East Riffa, Awali, Mazrowiyah, Askar, Jaw, Dawr
Registered voters: 6,451
% first round turnout: 82.1%
Dhiyab al-Noaimi – winner
Southwest coast; Sakhir
Registered voters: 5,090
% first round turnout: 77.7%
Mohsin al-Bakri – winner
10th Southern – no second round vote
Southern Bahrain, Dawr & Hawar islands
Registered voters: 2,368
% first round turnout: 45.3%
Ahmed al-Mulla – winner (1st round)