For the definitive guide on the winners of the 2014 parliamentary elections click on http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/entry/winners-of-2014-parliamentary-elections-capital-governorate

 

Despite the opposition’s boycott, unexpectedly high numbers of Bahrainis went out and voted in the two rounds of parliamentary and municipal elections, and most of the voters gave a clear mandate for change and reform.

 

The raw statistics clearly show which direction the majority of the electorate want Bahrain to move:

 

Three quarters of MPs from the former Parliament withdrew from the contest or were voted out. The vast majority of the 2014 Parliament will be made up of new representatives bringing with them a broad range of skills and experience.

 

Bahrainis voted for tangible policies, not religious ideology. Just three MPs will represent the Sunni political societies, and many of the more divisive MPs like Jassim al-Saeedi fared very badly in the vote.

 

In most constituencies, the candidates who performed best were those who set out a clear policy platform on the issues that matter to voters and who showed that they had the skills to implement their political vision.

 

The policy priorities of the winning candidates were remarkably consistent: All the major candidates have talked extensively about housing, improving standards of living, combatting unemployment and working to revive the economy.

 

Meanwhile, many have emphasized the importance of improving education standards, developing local services and infrastructure, supporting the needy and marginalized segments of society and improving the health sector.

 

Encouragingly, several successful candidates were pushing the agenda of national unity and reconciliation. The 2014 Parliament – with a broad mix of Sunni and Shia representatives; MPs from a range of professional backgrounds; young figures and older, more experienced MPs – arguably represents the most diverse assembly Bahrain has seen.

 

This bodes well for helping reunite Bahrain and turning the page on the difficult chapter of the last three years.

 

However, all these candidates gave us their promises, now we need to see the results. Many Bahrainis felt disappointed by the achievements of the previous Parliament. It would be dangerous for Bahrain’s democratic process if the public were later to feel that the 2014 hadn’t delivered on its promises.

 

This is the first entirely new Parliament to benefit from the 2012 constitutional amendments and other recent reforms which have the effect of empowering elected MPs. Bahrainis now want to see their representatives using these consolidated powers to deliver results on the issues that affect everybody’s lives.

 

For example, the recent announcements to make the housing applications process fairer – including delinking spouses’ wages in applicability for government housing – shows that the Bahraini authorities have been listening to public demands which were taken up by a large number of candidates calling for such measures to be taken.

 

This process of public criticism of unpopular legislation, advocacy of these issues by public representatives, and action taken by the executive, shows a growing political maturity and a deepening democratic culture in Bahrain that makes us optimistic about the prospects for the new Parliament.

 

Over the coming weeks we want to see these new parliamentary deputies setting out their clear political vision for the next four years and showing how they will work with government departments, the private sector and using the mechanisms at their disposal to turn this vision into a reality.

 

Bahrainis have high expectations for our new public representatives and we hope to see them deliver on these.

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