Capital Governorate

 

capital winners1st CapitalAdel al-Asoumi

Areas covered: Manama northeast coast, Diplomatic Area, Houra, Qudaybiya

Registered voters: 6,317;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 72.0%

Second round vote:

 

Adel al-Asoumi (MP) – 2265 (54.5%)

Khalid Sulaibikh – 1891 (45.5%)

 

Adel Abdulrahman Mohammed Ahmed al-Asoumi – Incumbent

Seen as a popular and dynamic sitting MP, Ali al-Asoumi is Head of Bahrain’s National Basketball Association and active in increasing Bahrain’s international sporting profile.

 

This result will have surprised few people. Al-Asoumi is a respected MP and local figure, so he was the favourite from the beginning of this contest.

 

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 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.

 

Voter demographic

 

1st Capital is one of the most predominantly loyalist areas within the Capital Governorate. A 72% first round turnout is a respectable figure and gives Al-Asoumi a strong mandate.

 

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 Qudaibiya.

 

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 large residential projects underway.

 

First round votes: Adel al-Asoumi (MP) – 2068 (47.5%); Khalid Sulaibikh – 1491 (34.2%); Ibrahim Janahi – 631 (14.5%); Ahmed al-Awadhi – 93; Ahmed al-Abbasi – 74

 

2nd Capital – Ahmed Qarratah 

Areas covered: Central Manama, Burhama, Salehiya, Suwayfiyah

Registered voters: 8,361;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 33.3%

Second round vote:

Ahmed Qaratah (MP) – 1224 (60.3%)

Hashim al-Alawi – 806 (39.7%)

 

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.

 

Qarratah succeeded in removingformer MP Ibtisam Hijres from the competition in the first round. Ibtisam 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.

 

Voter demographic

 

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.

 

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.

 

The 33% first round 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.

 

First round votes: Ahmed Qaratah (MP) – 946 (36.3%); Hashim al-Alawi – 622 (23.9%); Ibtisam Hijres (MP) – 412 (15.8%); Faysal Bin-Rajab – 312 (12.0%); Ahmed Ghalib – 112; Ala’uddin Bu-Ali – 105; Faisal al-Aradi – 94

 

3rd Capital – Adel Abdulhamid

Areas covered: Sanabis, Karbabad, Seef

Registered voters: 10,225;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 9.8%

Second round vote:

Adel Abdulhamid – 394 (65.0%)

Ali Shamtout (MP) – 212 (35.0%)

 

Adel Hamid Abdulhussain Jaffar

 

Adel Hamid is president of the administrative council of a major construction company. He noted the importance of the next Parliament in facilitating construction licenses and major investments.

 

Adel Hamid has succeeded in removing the incumbent MP Ali Shamtout who won the seat in the 2011 by-election. Shamtout won this by-election on a historically low turnout.

 

Ali Shamtout had pledged that he wouldn’t spend 4 cents on his candidacy campaign. 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”.

 

During the contest 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.

 

Hamid 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.

 

Voter demographic

 

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% first round turnout is no great surprise in a district where active campaigning was virtually impossible, with any promotional material being quickly subject to vandalism.

 

First round votes: Ali Shamtout (MP) – 246 (29.1%); Adel Abdulhamid – 203 (24.0%); Abbas Siraj – 123 (14.5%); Abbas Kayid – 107 (12.7%); Ammar al-Mahari – 84 (9.9%); Hashim al-Aradi – 54; Mohammed al-Mawali – 29

 

 

4th Capital – Abdulrahman Bumjaid

Areas covered: Fateh, Juffair, Ghuraifa, Mina Salman, Umm Hassam, Abu-Ghazzal, Adliya

Registered voters: 7,014;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 62.3%

Second round vote:

Abdulrahman Bumjaid (MP) – 2052 (59.6%)

Ibrahim al-Mannai (Mithaq) – 1394 (40.5%)

 

Abdulrahman Rashid Abdulrahman Khalaf Bumjaid – Incumbent

 

Bumjaid has held a parliamentary seat since 2006. His election slogan “Al-Bahrain tasta’ahal” loosely translates as “Bahrain rises to the challenge”. Bumjaid said that he registered his candidacy on the first day in order to encourage Bahrainis to vote and sign up as candidates.

 

This was always seen as one of the most hotly-contested constituencies, with two incumbent MPs – Hassan Bukhamas and Bumjaid – standing against each other and several other well-known contestants.

 

However in the days leading up to the vote, it was Bumjaid’s image that seemed to dominate around the area and he seemed to be one of the most vigourously-campaigning candidates.

 

In the event Bumjaid won around three times as many votes as his three closest rivals in the first round, which meant he had to face a second round against Ibrahim al-Mannai from the Al-Mithaq Society (part of the Al-Fateh Coalition). Bumjaid won the second round convincingly with around 60% of the vote.

 

Voter demographic

 

This district includes the area around Bahrain’s central Al-Fateh Mosque, the popular coastal Juffair area and the culturally-significant locality of Adliya.

This region contains a diverse range of demographics: 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% first round 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.

 

First round votes: Abdulrahman Bumjaidd (MP) – 1773 (42.6%); Ibrahim al-Mannai (Mithaq) – 738 (17.7%); Hassan Bukhamas (MP) – 678 (16.3%); Ammar al-Banai – 649 (15.6%); Adnan al-Nuaimi – 103; Fadhil al-Badu – 223

 

5th Capital – Nasser al-Qaseer

Areas covered: Bilad al-Qadeem, Zinj, Salmaniya, Segaiya, Mahooz and Abu Asheera

Registered voters: 7,782;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 32.3%

Second round vote:

Nasser al-Qaseer – 1047 (55.6%)

Wafa Ajoor – 836 (44.4%)

 

Nasser Abdulridha Mohammed Ali al-Qaseer

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; having seen off rivals like businessman Adel Al Safr, who seemed to have far greater campaign funds available.

 

Nasser al-Qaseer is a prominent advocate for strengthening Bahrain’s sporting achievements. His sporting roles include being treasurer of the Basketball Association. “The current situation requires change, in terms of increasing standards of living and improving oversight and legislation;” Al-Qaseer told Al-Ayam newspaper.

 

Al-Qaseer said 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”.

 

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.

 

Voter demographic

 

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.

 

First round votes: Nasser al-Qaseer – 821 (36.0%); Wafa Ajoor – 523 (22.9%); 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

 

6th Capital –Ali al-Atish

Areas covered: Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla

Registered voters: 10,946;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 26.2%

Second round vote:

Ali al-Atish (MP, Rabitah) – 1280 (69.3%)

Abdullah al-Kooheji – 567 (30.7%)

 

Ali Hassan Ahmed Ali al-Atish – Rabitah

 

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 were surprised at him coming so far ahead of the competition in the first round.

 

During his time in the Parliament, Al-Atish was chairman of the legislative and legal affairs committee.

 

Businessman Abdullah al-Kooheji was arguably the most visible contestant in this constituency and clearly invested a lot in his campaign. However, at the last minute during the second round he announced that he was withdrawing in favour of Al-Atish, citing this as being in the higher interests of Bahrain.

 

Voter demographic

 

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 candidacy billboards.

 

First round votes: Ali Hassan Ahmed Ali al-Atish (MP, Rabitah) – 1039 (41.8%); Abdullah al-Kooheji  – 835 (33.6%); Masoumah Abdulrahim – 438 (17.6%); Ihsan al-Faraj – 63; Abdulnabi Mahdi – 112

 

7th Capital – Osamah al-Khajah

Areas covered: Jid Ali, Jurdab

Registered voters: 10,695;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 46.1%

Second round vote:

Osamah al-Khajah – 2094 (60.4%)

Zainab Abdulamir – 1373 (39.6%)

 

Osamah Abdulhamid Ahmed al-Khajah

Businessman Al-Khajah has extensively discussed the housing crisis during his campaign. He highlighted the 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.

 

Many commented favourably on the way rival contestant Zainab Abdulamir went about her campaign, which was well covered in the media. Having waged such an effective campaign, Zainab would be well-placed for a successful candidacy in 2018.

 

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 in the first round.

 

Voter demographic

 

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 and is an indicator of the weakness of calls for a boycott outside the handful of core opposition constituencies.

 

First round votes: Osamah al-Khajah – 1458 (32.9%); Zainab Abdulamir – 1092 (24.6%); Khalid al-Quwwati – 656 (14.8%); Ridha Shukrallah – 615 (13.9%); Abdullah al-Dirazi – 610 (13.8%)

 

8th Capital – Majid al-Asfour

Areas covered: Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza

Registered voters: 9,372

 

Dr. Majid Muhsin Mohammed al-Asfour

When the dust settled after the October registration process, there were three candidates standing for the Sitra constituency; Shia cleric 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”.

 

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 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. 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 came fifth place in the 2006 elections, with 134 votes.

 

 

9th Capital – Mohammed Jaffar

Areas covered: Southern Sitra, East Eker

Registered voters: 9,591;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 9.6%

Second round vote:

Mohammed Jaffar – 500 (62.3%)

Ibrahim al-Asfour – 303 (37.7%)

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.

 

As a result, Mohammed Jaffar is one of the new MPs who least is known about by the wider Bahraini public. Former MPs representing this area like Osama al-Tamimi have tended to take a more confrontational approach within the Parliament in order to better establish their local legitimacy.

 

It remains to be seen whether Jaffar will follow in this path; or if he’ll seek a more conciliatory approach as candidates like Adel Hamid (3rd Capital) have promised, in order to try and secure greater Government support for the district.

 

Voter demographic

 

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 first round 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. 

 

First round votes: Ibrahim al-Asfour – 302 (39.1%); Mohammed Jaffar – 266 (34.5%); Mohammed Al Shaikh – 204 (26.4%)

 

10th Capital – Nabil al-Balooshi

Areas covered: West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town

Registered voters: 10,046;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 49.4%

Second round vote:

Nabil al-Balooshi – 2151 (56.0%)

Ali Ishaqi – 1692 (44.0%)

 

Nabil Abdullah Ali Mohammed al-Balooshi

 

Nabil al-Balooshi is a local cleric. His campaign emphasizes “justice, dignity and security”. From an early stage Al-Balooshi was singled out by experts as a figure likely to do well in this contest because of his local prominence.

 

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.

 

Voter demographic

 

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 first round 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.

 

First round votes:Nabil al-Balooshi – 877 (19.1%); Ali Ishaqi – 758 (16.5%); 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

 

 

Muharraq Governorate

 

Muharraq winners

 

1st Muharraq – Ali Bufarsan

Areas covered: Busaiteen

Registered voters: 8,071;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 85.4%

Second round vote:

Ali Bufarsan – 3182 (54.2%)

Saadi Mohammed (Minbar) – 2691 (45.8%)

 

Ali Isa Abdullah Ahmed Bufarsan

Ali Bufursan has been a remarkable contender in one of the most competitive constituencies in Bahrain. He has consistently been one of the most visible candidates in the national media and his imaginative campaigning techniques have helped him see off several formidable opponents.

 

After coming second in the first round with 1567 votes against 1986 votes for the Minbar candidate, he has somehow gone on to win the second round.

Bufursan told Al-Watan newspaper that “people’s aspirations are focused on improving standards of living and the housing issue. They didn’t sense any important accomplishments from the previous Parliament in these matters”. Bufursan also highlighted the importance of support for agriculture and fishing. He complained that fishermen in the Busaiteen area lacked any kind of support.

Bufursan emphasized the “solutions” he possesses for improving healthcare facilities and for assisting those in society with special needs, such as the elderly, widows, orphans and the disabled. His slogan is “Together we can”.

 

Bufursan said he wanted to prioritize the issue of integrating young people into the jobs market, based on their merit and specializations, through supporting higher education and establishing mechanisms to facilitate job-seeking and recruitment.

A key event in this 1st Muharraq elections contest was the last-minute and surprise withdrawal of standing MP since 2002, Adel al-Moawdah. Although Al-Moawdah had resigned from Al-Asalah, he was still closely associated with the organization, so many pundits predicted that potential votes for Al-Moawdah would naturally go to Al-Minbar’s Dr. Saadi Mohammed.

 

Voter demographic

Busaiteen is a proud and traditional Sunni locality on the northwest coast of Muharraq. Islamist parties have traditionally done well in this constituency. Voters will be looking for candidates who can vocally advocate their interests at a national level and support livelihoods, like the fishing industry.

 

Some pundits have cited the decline in support of Bahraini voters for established political groupings. One newspaper survey of local constituents discovered considerable frustration with the perceived performance of previous MPs, saying that there was a desire for candidates who could demonstrate that they sought “the public interest, not personal interests”.

 

However, the 85.4% first round turnout shows a local public who were highly engaged by this contest and who felt passionate about coming out and supporting their candidates, while renewing their engagement with the political process.

First round votes: Saadi Mohammed (Minbar) – 1986 (29.8%); Ali Bufursan – 1567 (23.6%); Mohammed al-Hussaini – 1451 (21.8%); Ahmed al-Obaidli – 416 (6.3%); Ahmed Ashir – 397; Yahya al-Majdami – 345; Mohammed al-Qalalif – 226; Ahmed Aqqab – 153; Thani Rashidan – 115

 

2nd Muharraq – Ibrahim al-Hamadi

Areas covered: Muharraq central

Registered voters: 7,563;     Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 79.5%

Second round vote:

Ibrahim al-Hamadi – 2761 (51.4%)

Abdulmunim al-Eid – 2610 (48.6%)

 

Ibrahim Jumah Ali Mohammed al-Hamadi

In this highly-competitive constituency Ibrahim al-Hamadi and Abdulmunim al-Eid made it through to the second round against some respected candidates.

Al-Hamadi’s campaign focused on building local grassroots support and received little national media coverage. Abdulmunim al-Eid was the first to open his campaign tent and he fought a vigourous campaign, only coming around 150 votes behind Al-Hamadi in the second round.

 

Voter demographic

This constituency lies in the densely-populated central town of Muharraq and in geographical size is one of the smallest constituencies in Bahrain. This area has tended to favour Sunni Islamist candidates.

 

Media surveys of voters (Al-Watan) have found voter priorities in this constituency to include housing, living standards, education and improving public infrastructure.

 

The 80% first round turnout would be considered remarkable, if it hadn’t been exceeded in many other Muharraq districts.

 

First round votes: Ibrahim al-Hamadi – 1761 (30.3%); Abdulmunim al-Eid – 1550 (26.6%); Wahid al-Dossary – 1251 (21.5%); Salim Rajab (NUG) – 524 (9.0%); Mohammed al-Buainain – 357; Abdulrahman Bin-Zaiman – 195; Ahmed al-Jowder – 127; Khalid Bu-Jiri – 54

 

3rd Muharraq – Jamal Buhassan

Areas covered: Muharraq central, Qalali

Registered voters: 7,563;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 77.6%

Second round vote:

Jamal Buhassan – 2568 (52.3%)

Ahmed Al Binali (Wasat) – 2341 (47.7%)

 

Jamal Jassim Ali Buhassan

Jamal Buhassan’s win is remarkable against popular contestants like Mohammed al-Mutawwa, Adel Bu-Anq and Asalah’s candidate Abdulnaser al-Mahmeed. However, Bahassan has experience of fighting elections contests: Buhassan gained 667 votes in 2010. His Minbar opponent Ali Ahmed beat him with 983.

Buhassan in comments to Al-Ayam noted the poor performance of political societies in previous rounds of elections, stating his hope that he would perform well among other independents.

 

Buhassan’s defeated rival – Secretary-General of the Al-Wasat Society Ahmed Al Binali – is a prominent face in this contest and had been predicted to perform well.

 

Voter demographic

This is a staunchly loyalist area sprawling across the heart of Muharraq island. The district expanded as part of the 2014 boundary changes to take in two blocks from the 1st Muharraq constituency and parts of Qalali.

 

The decision of the Minbar MP Ali Ahmed not to contest this seat caused widespread surprise, but is perhaps an indicator of the wining regional fortunes of pro-Muslim Brotherhood groups.

 

First round votes: Jamal Buhassan – 1219 (21.6%); Ahmed Al Binali (Wasat) – 1061 (18.8%); Mohammed al-Mutawwa – 1032 (18.3%); Adel Bu-Anq – 693 (12.3%); Mohammed Murad – 631 (11.2%); Abdulnasir al-Mahmeed (Asalah) – 555 (9.8%); Yusuf al-Awadhi – 176; Abdulrahman Fakhro – 170; Mohammed Ahmedi – 61; Abdallah Saad – 52

 

 

4th Muharraq – Isa al-Kooheji

Areas covered: Muharraq central

Registered voters: 7,904;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 78.7%

Contest decided by outright win in the first round of voting.

First round votes:

Isa al-Kooheji (MP) – 3022 (50.8%)

 

Defeated first round candidates:Rima Halal – 887 (14.9%); Abdullah al-Aynati (NUG) – 675 (11.4%); Hamad al-Mearaj – 590 (9.9%); Majid al-Atawi – 196; Mohammed al-Murbati – 422; Mohammed Khayami – 154;

 

Isa Abduljabbar Mahmoud al-Kooheji – Incumbent

Prominent independent incumbent Isa al-Kooheji succeeded in fighting off the National Unity Gathering representative, Ambassador Abdullah al-Aynati; and a number of independent rivals.

 

Although Al-Kooheji was the obvious favourite to win, few people would have predicted how strong his victory would be. Al-Kooheji himself will be relieved to have defeated his opponents so convincingly in the first round.

 

Al-Kooheji: “The political confrontation in its entirety should be brought into the Parliament, in order to represent the voice of the people in the correct manner.” Al-Kooheji stressed that the role of independents had been clearly proven in past parliamentary performance. Al-Kooheji obtained around 58% of the vote in the 2010 elections.

 

Al-Kooheji has not been one of the faces appearing regularly in the media during this contest, apparently relying more on his parliamentary record.

Credit has to go to Rima Halal as the only female candidate in Muharraq Governorate. She ended up coming second against some very competitive rivals. Such a result puts her in a strong position for competing in future rounds of elections.

 

Voter demographic

 

These urban areas of Muharraq Island can be expected to favour an independent loyalist candidate. However a dense patchwork of local communities have to be taken into account; Hawala, Bahrani, Ajam and tribal Arabian. Thus, we find a slightly more cosmopolitan range of candidates than in other central parts of Muharraq, including the only female candidate in Muharraq, Rima Halal.

 

This is one of the oldest areas of Muharraq Island and so contains historically important sites. There are many critical social issues needing addressing including poverty, unemployment and poor quality of some older housing.

 

Commentators have noted the difficult of predicting this contest because of the lack of a clear “political ideology” among this diverse community. Liberals, progressives, Salafists, Brotherhood supporters can all be found here.

 

5th Muharraq – Mohammed al-Jowder

Areas covered: Northeast Muharraq; Amwaj Islands; Qalali

Registered voters: 7,199;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 87.6%

Second round vote:

Mohammed al-Jowder – 3358 (61.2%)

Khalid Bu-Anq – 2129 (38.8%)

 

Mohammed Hassan Rashid al-Jowder

Mohammed al-Jowder has been an interesting candidate, continually coming out in the media with fresh and original policy proposals.

 

Al-Jowder proposed opening the first academy of its kind in Bahrain for the disabled. He said such support would help the disabled play a greater role in society, which in turn would benefit the national economy. Al-Jowder stressed the importance of investing in human capital and achieving social justice.

 

Al-Jowder promised to set up the first local “majlis” in his district dedicated to hearing the concerns and aspirations of young people, in order that appropriate parts of Bahrain’s administration could be made to hear these concerns.

Rival candidate, municipal councilor Khalid Bu-Anq, had been outspoken in raising issues of local concern. He only came seven votes behind Al-Jowder in the first round.

 

It was a surprise to many that incumbent MP Mahmoud al-Mahmoud was defeated in the first round, as he is a respected figure and political heavyweight. The vote is possibly an indicator of the frustration many voters are currently feeling towards the limited achievements of the previous Parliament. 

 

Voter demographic

Lying to the northeast corner of Muharraq, this large constituency has the smallest number of registered voters in the Governorate. Much of this constituency is built on recently reclaimed land, including the trendy Amwaj islands. As a result, the population in these areas is predominantly middle class and cosmopolitan.

 

However, the southern parts of this constituency include working class areas of Qalali, which observers describe as constituting the “electoral core” of the district. This is particularly the case after the constituency was recently expanded in order to incorporate a greater share of Qalali.

 

Commentators have described this district as being a stronghold of independent candidates, in comparison with many other Muharraq districts where political societies hold sway.

 

An Al-Watan survey for 5th Muharraq found widespread frustration amongst younger people in this area over poor housing provision and a perceived lack of action on the issues that matter by previous parliaments. There were also concerns about lack of suitable jobs for young graduates and lack of activities for younger people, while others noted the necessity of doing more for “marginalized” and disadvantaged constituents, like widows, unemployed, the elderly and those with special needs.

 

Given these frustrations, we can only credit the huge levels of political engagement in this constituency, with a first round voter turnout of nearly 90%.

First round votes: Mohammed al-Jowder – 1252 (20.5%); Khalid Bu-Anq – 1245 (20.3%); Mahmoud al-Mahmoud (MP) – 1020 (16.7%); Muhammed al-Dakhil – 653 (10.7%); Mohammed al-Faraj – 583 (9.5%); Abdulaziz al-Majid – 504; Jamal Saad – 402; Sami al-Shaer (NUG) – 309; Ahmed al-Mannai – 90; Ibrahim Ali – 62

 

6th Muharraq – Abbas al-Madhi

Areas covered: Dair & Samaheej

Registered voters: 7,762;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 11.1%

Second round vote:

Abbas al-Madhi (MP) – 308 (52.9%)

Nabil al-Ashiri – 274 (47.1%)

 

Abbas Isa Ali Hassan al-Madhi – Incumbent

Al-Madhi won his seat unopposed in the 2011 by-election. He cited the importance of “accumulated experience” for serving in Parliament, noting that his previous presidency of the Services Committee qualified him to play a useful role in future legislation.

 

Al-Madhi has listed the improvement of living standards and reducing public debt as the key priorities for the coming Parliament.

 

Al-Madhi refused to confirm the size of his campaign budget, but said that candidates required at least 10,000 BD ($27,000) for a successful campaign.

MP Abbas al-Madhi’s home was reportedly attacked several times by opposition militants in the period leading up to the elections. Al-Madhi said that he would not be deterred by such attacks.

 

His second round rival Nabil al-Ashiri has been an active campaigner with his statements regularly appearing in the media. Al-Ashiri was only three votes behind Al-Madhi in the first round and 34 votes behind Al-Madi in the second.

 

Voter demographic

The significant opposition population in this area made efforts to enforce the boycott inevitable. However, several figures from the local Shia community have spoken out against the boycott.

 

The 11% first round turnout is in stark contrast to participation of around 80% in all the other Muharraq districts.

 

First round votes: Abbas al-Madhi (MP) – 273 (38.8%); Nabil al-Ashiri – 270 (38.4%); Hassan al-Samaheeji – 82 (11.7%); Abbas al-Faraj – 78 (11.6%)

 

7th Muharraq – Ali al-Muqla (Asalah)

Areas covered: Arad

Registered voters: 13,204;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 74.2%

Second round vote:

Ali al-Muqla (Asalah) – 4057 (50.6%)

Nasir al-Fadhalah (Minbar) – 3968 (49.5%)

 

Ali Yaqoub Yousif Mohammed al-Muqla – Asalah

Asalah’s Ali al-Muqla has beaten Minbar’s Nasir al-Fadhalah in a tense second round run-off.

 

Al-Muqallah: “I have expended all my efforts in the service of Muharraq. I trust in the awareness of citizens who make up the support base of Al-Asalah Society in the constituency. I have been a municipal councilor, now I aspire to represent the area as a deputy”.

 

In these elections Asalah and Minbar went head to head in three constituencies – 10th Northern, 1st Southern and 7th Muharraq. It should be remembered that in 2006 these two Sunni societies formed an elections alliance. This relationship broke down in 2010, with the two societies going head to head in several constituencies and as a result only gaining five seats between them.

 

Relations between these two societies were further strained in 2014 with Minbar deciding to contest the elections within the Al-Fateh Coalition and Asalah remaining outside, which seems to have thwarted any attempts to coordinate elections strategies. Only three seats for these two societies in the 2014 elections is an indicator of the decline in trust towards political societies felt by voters.

 

Voter demographic

This relatively small constituency in terms of land area has the highest number of registered voters out of all the constituencies in Bahrain, at 13,204. Arad has a predominantly Sunni working class demographic. Commentators were divided on whether this contest would be dominated by the political groupings or whether independent and technocratic figures will be more appealing to the voters.

This constituency was formerly held by independent MP Othman Sharif from 2002 to 2006 and 2011 to 2014.

 

First round votes: Ali al-Muqla (Asalah) 1599 (17.1%); Nasir al-Fadhalah (Minbar) 1525 (16.3%);Mohammed al-Sulaiti – 1493 (16.0%); Badr al-Hammadi (Watan) – 1474 (15.8%); Abdulrahman al-Khashram – 1114 (11.9%); Khalid Ibrahim – 912 (9.8%); Mohammed Wazzan – 528; Mohammed Halal – 363; Adel al-Mannai – 331

 

8th Muharraq – Abdulrahman Bu-Ali

Areas covered: Southern Muharraq; Hidd

Registered voters: 9,065;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 85.9%

Contest decided by outright win in the first round of voting.

First round votes:

Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 4197 (55.7%)

 

Defeated first round candidates:Samir Khadim (MP) – 3020 (40.1%); Abdullah Bughamar (Al-Saff) – 323 (4.3%)

 

Abdulrahman Ali Abdulrahman Bu-Ali

Abdulrahman Bu-Ali’s outright win against popular MP Samir Khadim in the first round of the election was a result that surprised many and is an indicator of how demographic dynamics have shifted in this complex constituency.

 

In the 2012 by-election to replace the resigned Asalah MP Ghanem al-Buaynayn, Samir Khadim only narrowly beat Abdulrahman Bu-Ali, with Bu-Ali gaining 47% in the second round of the vote.

 

During the contest Bu-Ali urged voters to play a more active role in monitoring the parliamentary activity of elected MPs and censuring deputies who fail to perform effectively. Bu-Ali is a committee member for significant local youth clubs.

 

Bu-Ali enjoyed the support of the Salafist Al-Asalah Society during past elections contests, as well as having close ties with local cultural associations, intellectuals and local elites. 

 

Bu-Ali was always seen as a strong contender. However, he has done well to unseat an incumbent – Samir Khadim – who enjoys strong local support. This is particularly the case as there was said to be widespread local satisfaction at Khadim’s performance as a deputy since 2012, including with his care to maintain close relations with local constituents.

 

Khadim hails from northern Hidd, which according to local pundits guaranteed him a substantial proportion of support from those areas; whereas Abdulrahman Bu-Ali is a southerner and so also enjoys a near-guaranteed support base, in an area where kinship ties and local solidarity are crucial.

 

Voter demographic

Hidd contains a large industrial area, substantial port and customs facilities, as well as boat-building and repair industries. There is a mixed working-class population and many new residential areas. There is also a north-south divide in this locality, which commentators have noted as a strong factor in who voters get behind.

 

Until a 2012 by-election, this district had been held by the Salafi Al-Asalah society.

 

The 86% first round turnout is remarkable for any elections and indicates how loyal people in this area are to their preferred candidates and their sense of voting as a national obligation.

 

Northern Governorate

northern winners

 

1st Northern – Fatimah al-Asfour

Areas covered: Hilla, Meqsha, Karranah, Janusan, Barbar, Diraz

Registered voters: 10,749;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 8.1%

Second round vote:

Fatimah al-Asfour – 276 (51.1%)

Ali al-Dirazi (MP) – 264 (48.9%)

 

Fatimah Abdulmahdi Yousif al-Asfour

After investing heavily in a confident and visible campaign, MP Ali al-Dirazi must have been surprised to have come out of the first round of elections only six votes ahead of a female candidate who had very little public exposure, Fatimah al-Asfour. More remarkable still, in the second round Fatimah capitalized on her strong showing and succeeded in coming first and removing Al-Dirazi from his seat.

 

Fatimah has been campaigning on a pro-family agenda, calling for better living standards for ordinary Bahraini families.

 

Fatimah was one of two members of the prominent Shia Asfour family competing in this district, with many Asfours competing in both the municipal and parliamentary elections and Majid al-Asfour, already having won his seat in 8th Capital.

 

As the only female candidate in this locality, many people will be pleased to see Fatimah performing so well.

 

Although she has erected a few billboards along the Budaya highway, Fatimah a-Asfour’s campaign has done little to solicit coverage in the national media, so her policy positions and priorities have not been widely disseminated.

 

Voter demographic

This district – which has lost some of its territory to the Capital Governorate – has been right at the centre of the post-2011 unrest. Therefore, widespread efforts by militants to enforce the boycott were inevitable.

 

Immediately prior to the elections, local Ayatollah, Isa Qassim spoke out in defence of the elections boycott. Diraz represents the epicenter of support for Al-Wefaq Islamic Society. These Shia villages have always taken their lead from their religious leadership and so for many the instruction to boycott was effectively a fatwa that had to be obeyed.

 

However, the appearance of candidates from the prominent Asfour and Dirazi families illustrates the fact that these communities are not entirely of one mind, with several influential figures questioning why the opposition is removing itself from the democratic and parliamentary process.

 

First round votes: Ali al-Dirazi (MP) – 189 (26.8%); Fatimah al-Asfour – 183 (26.0%); Hussain Habib – 164 (23.3%); Yassir Nassif – 68 (9.7%); Mohammed Rabea – 47; Jaffar al-Asfour – 33; Mohammed Shehab – 21

 

 

2nd Northern – Jalal Kadhim

Areas covered: Markh, Bani Jamra, Diraz

Registered voters: 6,970;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 8.0%

Second round vote:

Jalal Kadhim – 247 (66.8%)

Hussain al-Hamar – 123 (33.2)

 

Jalal Kadhim Hassan Kadhim

In the early phases of this contest Jalal Kadhim was the only figure visibly pursuing his candidacy in this district, with coverage in the media, online activity and posters advocating his candidacy on view around the district, some of which were vandalized.

 

In an area of overwhelming hostility to the elections contest, Jalal has come across as a confident and tenacious candidate; so it is unsurprising to see him coming out ahead.

During the contest Jalal pledged to focus on providing services and improving roads and infrastructure. He told Al-Ayam newspaper that he had a “vision for youth”. “This vision will focus on developing the capabilities of the youth and enabling them to play more of a role in society, investing their talents and energies in building this nation… Through solving the problem of unemployment, many other problems associated with the youth can be addressed.”

 

Jalal has reported attacks through the social media from opposition militants accusing him of being a “traitor” for participating in the elections. Later on in the campaign his home was attacked and his cars were set on fire. Many of his campaign posters were vandalized.

 

Voter demographic

Diraz is the home of Ayatollah Isa Qassim, spiritual leader of Al-Wefaq which is leading the call for a boycott of the parliamentary elections. With the local Ayatollah and leading local political societies instructing people not to vote and with militants trying to force people to stay away from the voting centres, it is remarkable that anybody voted.

 

However, a first round turnout of eight percent is still a terrible result and reflects badly on local levels of political engagement during the next parliamentary period.

First round votes: Jalal Kadhim – 183 (41.0%); Hussain al-Hamar – 170 (38.1%); Fadhil al-Dirazi – 93 (20.9%)

 

3rd Northern – Hamad al-Dossary

Areas covered: Northern strip of west coast; Budayya, Haniniyah, Jasra, Hamala, Um Sabiyan, Um Na’san, Jiddah

Registered voters: 6,082;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 64.4%

Second round vote:

Hamad al-Dossary – 1984 (58.6%)

Hassan al-Dossary (MP) – 1404 (47.4%)

 

Hamad Salim Ali Eid al-Dossary

Hamad al-Dossary only came second in the first round with only 1086 votes, compared to his rival, standing MP Hassan al-Dossary. However, local constituents clearly rallied against the incumbent MP in the second round, securing Hamad’s seat in Parliament with nearly 60% of the vote.

 

There had been widespread local dissatisfaction of a perceived failure by local MP Hassan al-Dossary to use his position on the parliamentary housing committee to advocate local interests in addressing housing provision. This dissatisfaction may help explain the relatively low first round turnout in this Sunni loyalist area, at only 64% – despite efforts by candidates to engage people in the process.

 

One symptom of this frustration was two other figures from the Dossary tribe coming out against Hassan. This includes former member of Hassan’s campaign team – Hamad al-Dossary – who has used his elections experience and his relatively young age to seek to engage the youth demographic.

 

As a pro-youth candidate, Hamad has emerged as perhaps one of the most recognizable new faces of the 2014 Bahrain elections, gaining plenty of media coverage. He has been active through the social media and engaging widely with the local public.

 

Hamad is campaigning under the slogan “National partnership… national responsibility”, with an emphasis on improving standards of living. He stresses that “the youth is the most important tool for change”, calling for voters to back younger candidates.

 

Hamad said that his “national responsibility” agenda included action to stamp out corruption and outdated standards of administration.

 

Voter demographic

This area encompasses many of the Sunni/loyalist localities along the north of Bahrain’s west coast, like Budaya, Hamala and Jasra. Despite being one of the largest Northern constituencies in geographical size, 3rd Northern has only 6,082 registered voters.

 

In these intimate and traditional communities, the contest is as much about personal and tribal connections as it is about policies, which makes this a more difficult district to predict.

 

Given these facts, it is significant that the top three performing candidates all hailed from the Dossary tribe.

 

First round votes: Hassan al-Dossary (MP) – 1437 (38.0%); Hamad al-Dossary – 1086 (28.7%); Adel al-Dossary – 697 (18.4%); Firas Nouruddin – 493 (13.0%); Mamdouh Marhoun – 35; Abdulaziz al-Dhawadi 34

 

4th Northern – Ghazi Al Rahmah

Areas covered: Jidhafs, Jabla Habshi, North Sehla, Qadam, Abu-Quwwah

Registered voters: 9,277;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 27.0%

Second round vote:

Ghazi Al Rahmah – 853 (55.8%)

Nawaf al-Sayed – 675 (44.2%)

 

Ghazi Faisal Hassan Hussain Al Rahmah

This was certainly one of the more difficult districts to predict, with only a limited amount of local campaigning being possible due to pro-boycott activity.

However, in the weeks before the elections Ghazi Al Rahmah came out with a very visible and clearly-branded campaign, geared towards younger voter demographics. His campaign team were also successful in soliciting media coverage, during which Al Rahmah criticized the performance of former deputies and condemned the poor provision of services to the local area.

 

Ghazi pledged to work harder for his constituents in ensuring they were given due consideration for housing provision, services, infrastructure and jobs.

 

Al Rahmah has strongly criticized previous housing and services legislation which he said discriminated unfairly against many citizens. Ghazi and many other candidates have been particularly critical of the regulation that combines the income of husbands and wives to determine housing allocation, and is thus seen to discriminate unfairly.

 

Al Rahmah has also criticized the provision of Government support, saying that 75% of this went to “foreign hotels and restaurants”. He urged public spending to be better directed for projects that benefit citizens and promote economic growth. Al Rahmah said his campaign budget was 8,000 BD ($21,000 US) – a relatively modest amount compared to most other candidates.

 

Voter demographic

This was previously the largest electoral district in Bahrain (formerly 1st Northern, with 15,500 registered voters in 2006). However, much of the west of that constituency (the Sehla area) has been incorporated into the Capital Governorate, leaving behind a constituency with an average number of voters.

 

Although this area is majority Shia, the slightly higher turnout reflects a more diverse demographic composition than in the areas to the north (1st & 2nd Northern; 3rd Capital) that are almost wholly pro-opposition.

 

This constituency and the neighbouring capital constituencies have a range of political and social affiliations: Ajam, Baharana, Hawala, loyalist, opposition, secular, naturalized-Shia and many others.

 

The result was that although many locals were sympathetic to the boycott, many were also willing to come out and support strong local candidates who represented the interests and aspirations of constituents.

 

First round votes: Ghazi Al Rahmah – 646 (29.4%); Nawaf al-Sayed – 571 (25.9%); Huda Radhi – 438 (19.9%); Hussain Jawad – 335 (15.2%); Mohammed al-Aleywi – 211 (9.6%)

 

5th Northern – Ali al-Aradi

Areas covered: Qadam, Hajar, Abu Saiba, Shakhurah, Muqaba, Diraz, Sar, Markh

Registered voters: 10,388;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 16.3%

Second round vote:

Ali al-Aradi – 534 (53.4%)

Jamil al-Rowaei – 467 (46.7%)

 

Ali Abdullah Ali Hussain al-Aradi

Ali al-Aradi is a consultant in the Bahrain Chamber for Conflict Resolution, with a background in law and human rights.

 

From the outset of this campaign Ali al-Aradi came out strongly as one of the most visible candidates in this highly competitive constituency, imposing himself on the local consciousness through hundreds of billboards and a mass of promotional activity.

 

Al-Aradi appeared in the media almost every day, discussing a broad range of policy initiatives, along with a lot of paid advertising.

 

He has stressed to work to increase investment in Bahrain and promote the economy, so as to improve standards of living for Bahrainis. Al-Aradi noted the need to hold companies to account which had failed to deliver in full on public sector projects.

 

Al-Aradi says he had a number of initiatives he planned to pursue in Parliament to reduce the state budget’s dependence on oil revenues. Al-Aradi has called for an “Independent Higher Council for the media” for enforcing standards and upholding the rights of journalists. Al-Aradi has also spoken out on the need to address corruption through legislation to increase oversight of government and administrative activity.

 

Al-Aradi noted the lack of legislation concerning the various forms of discrimination in Bahraini society, promising to address this if he made it to Parliament.

 

Analysts cited Al-Aradi’s strong chances, reflecting that he had a significant amount of relevant experience and came from an important local family. Al-Watan newspaper praised his “pluralist and balanced statements which avoid extremism and sectarianism, and which have gained him popular acceptance”.

 

Voter demographic

This turned out to be one of the most exciting contests in the Northern Governorate. In contrast with neighbouring constituencies where election campaigns have been almost invisible, dozens of candidate billboards went up every few metres along the main highways traversing this area.

 

The villages in this district are familiar as rioting hotspots so there is likely to be active opposition to any kind of participation in elections in this area. However, the extensive new housing developments in this area has gone to a cosmopolitan mix of middle-class families who can be relied on to turn out and vote, making this one of Bahrain’s most diverse communities.

 

First round votes: Ali al-Aradi – 339 (22.7%); Jamil al-Rowaei – 338 (22.6%); Ahmed al-Najjar – 236 (15.8%); Jamil al-Mahari – 104 (7.0%); Fadhil al-Harz – 100; Nabil al-Lababidi – 98; Hannan Abdulaziz – 96; Isa Taqi – 91; Mohammed Mohsin – 65; Mohammed Khalil – 30;

 

6th Northern – Rua al-Haiki

Areas covered: Aali

Registered voters: 10,704;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 20.2%

Second round vote:

Rua al-Haiki – 762 (61.3%)

Mohammed Al Asfour – 481 (38.7%)

 

Rua Badr Mubarak Ali Ali al-Haiki

Young business consultant Rua al-Haiki from the outset was the local candidate pursuing the most systematic, visible and well-funded campaign, with large adverts in national newspapers.

 

By positioning herself as a business woman and technocrat with practical experience in addressing unemployment, Al-Haiki was targeting both the middle-class “loyalist” communities and disaffected young people who want to see changes that will offer them a better future.

 

In an interview Al-Ayam, Al-Haiki talked about a training consultancy initiative she had recently launched for helping increase the skills of long-term unemployed young people. One of her programmes claimed to have absorbed 778 unemployed people into the workforce.

 

Al-Haiki said she had proposed a housing project designed to serve young people, in parallel with existing projects. She has also called for more transparency in the process for the provision of government housing.

 

Al-Haiki has also called on the Ministry of Culture to work with local authorities to rescue and restore important archeological burial mounds in the area and compensate locals affected by the process.

 

Al-Haiki reportedly spent 65-70,000 BD (around $180,000) on her campaign, which makes her one of the bigger spenders. Al-Haiki is an old and important Bahraini Shia family.

 

However, Al-Haiki is a new face in political circles and there were questions about whether such a professional campaign would translate to grassroots support in an area where many felt a degree of alienation from the political process. The fact that Rua has gained more than twice as many votes as her closest rival, the distinguished local figure Mohammed Al Asfour is a remarkable achievement.

 

Voter demographic

The old village of Ali is predominantly Shia. There will be many who choose to boycott, but many of the more-established families are likely to come out in support of local Shia candidates.

 

Much of the newer development in Aali has gone to Sunni families (described by one commentator as “technocrats, liberals and business figures”), leading to a balance between the communities.

 

The incumbent, who won his seat in the 2011 by-election, Ahmed al-Saati, is a respected figure and the brains behind the new “Al-Watan” political society that aspires to be a moderate and progressive force in Bahraini politics. Al-Saati’s sudden announcement half-way through the registration process that he wouldn’t be standing came as a surprise to everyone and left this contest wide open.The result was a rush of new candidates declaring their candidacies at the last minute.

A poll commissioned by candidate Rua al-Haiki found that the most prominent issue concerning local constituents was housing (38%), followed by employment opportunities (29%) and improving standards of living (17%), with education and health also featuring.

 

First round votes: Rua al-Haiki – 718 (37.3%); Mohammed Al Asfour – 323 (16.8%); Majid Saleh – 280 (14.5%); Mohammed al-Aali – 261 (13.5%); Mohammed al-Bahhar – 199 (10.3%); Moayed Neamah – 61; Ali al-Sayegh – 54; Younis Jassim – 31

 

7th Northern – Majid al-Majid

Areas covered: Al-Qurayah, Janabiyah, Buri, Hamalah, Dumistan

Registered voters: 10,245;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 15.1%

Second round vote:

Majid al-Majid – 489 (55.5%)

Mohammed Bin-Rajab – 392 (44.5%)

 

Majid Ibrahim Hasan Ibrahim al-Majid

Al-Majid is a local Shia cleric. Majid’s candidacy surprised people because he is closely associated with the opposition Shirazi movement and a leading member of the now-dissolved Amal Society. His candidacy gained a lot of media attention as a heavyweight nominally pro-opposition figure deciding to compete, although Al-Majid has previously contested the elections.

 

Al-Majid gained 845 votes in 2010, almost exactly a tenth of the score of his Al-Wefaq rival. His 2010 campaign was also marred by attacks on his candidacy by militants, who burned his campaign posters and tried to damage his local reputation. Al-Majid is said to be relying this time on his Amal supporters in the Dumistan locality.

 

Al-Majid told an interviewer: “We look at participation in elections as a matter of principle. We ideologically believed in this since the first rounds of elections. We participated and we will participate now and in the future, because participation is how nations are built”.

 

Voter demographic

The 7th Northern district is a demographically diverse district, ranging from localities with a largely middle-class loyalist population like Janabiya and Hamala; to areas like Dumistan and Al-Qurrayah which are predominantly Shia and contain elements supportive of the opposition.

 

However, the Shia demographic shouldn’t be equated with opposition support. Many of the older families like Asfour, Aali and Bin-Rajab are loyalist in orientation and will vote for candidates who are seen to be “one of them”. Ajam communities, of Iranian origin, also tend to stand apart from Al-Wefaq with their own clergy and affiliations.

 

Some observers have contextualized the candidacy of figures like Al-Majid as a sign of cracks appearing between the Shirazi movement and other segments of the opposition.

 

This is a large and geographically disbursed district featuring a diverse range of communities, making it difficult for candidates to reach out to everyone; hence the confusion of certain candidates who are respectively positioning themselves to gain pro-opposition votes, middle-class votes, or the support of traditional elites.

An Al-Watan survey of the views of local constituents found that many people were determined to vote “for the sake of the nation”, but that there was a general disappointment with the past performance of parliamentary representatives and an emphasis on the familiar issues of housing, wage levels, unemployment and services.

 

First round votes: Majid al-Majid – 366 (28.6%); Mohammed Bin-Rajab – 199 (15.6%); Munir Ibrahim – 193 (15.1%); Ahmed Hassan – 109 (8.5%);Ali Sakran – 104; Majid Ibrahim – 101; Abduljalil al-Aali – 90; Jamil Abbas – 75; Ali Makki – 41

 

8th Northern – Isa Turki

Areas covered: Hamad Town

Registered voters: 8,521;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 71.9%

Second round vote:

Isa Turki – 3101 (58.5%)

Adel al-Dhawadi (Minbar) – 2202 (41.5%)

 

Isa Ahmed Mustafa Turki

Independent candidate Isa Turki has done well to come out comfortably ahead of the representative of Sunni society Al-Minbar from the Al-Fateh Coalition

Turki told Al-Watan newspaper that the high number of candidates in the 2014 elections was an indication of the “climate of democracy in Bahrain based on respect for individual freedoms along with the increasing momentum of political progress”.

 

Turki criticized the failure of political societies for failing to agree on unified lists, saying that this was “evidence that their approach was based on blind loyalty, not on competence or skills”.

 

Al-Minbar’s funding helped make Adel al-Dhawadi one of the most visible candidates in this race and Al-Dhawadi was the first to open his campaign headquarters. However, by trailing second in both rounds, Al-Dhawadi has illustrated what has been obvious in many other constituencies – that public trust in the political societies has been draining away.

 

Minbar’s Muslim Brotherhood affiliations, which once were a bonus, have become slightly more problematic in the current regional geo-political situation, making constituents potentially more hesitant in showing unconditional support.

 

Voter demographic

Hamad Town is a sprawling working-class region of Bahrain that expanded significantly over recent decades. The mixed population and changes to constituency boundaries make election results difficult to predict, however the 8th Northern district is predominantly Sunni and loyalist, hence a turnout of over 70 percent.

 

People will be looking for deputies who can make credible promises for improving services, housing provision and jobs. Islamic candidates have tended to perform well.

 

First round votes: Isa Turki – 2158 (36.9%); Adel al-Dhawadi (Minbar) – 1848 (31.6%); Jassim Hijris – 1352 (23.1%); Maryam al-Mahrous – 344 (5.9%); Bader al-Dossary – 143

 

9th Northern – Abdulhamid al-Najjar

Areas covered: Hamad Town

Registered voters: 12,315;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 40.5%

Second round vote:

Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 1977 (56.1%)

Hassan al-Alawi – 1546 (43.9%)

 

Abdulhamid Abdulhussain Ahmed al-Najjar

Although Al-Najjar hasn’t previously made it into public office, his participation in parliamentary elections contests in previous years shows what a locally strong candidate he is, so he was always a favourite to win in this constituency.

 

Both second-round candidates were Sunnis with a very clear religious agenda. Al-Najjar stated earlier in the contest that his priority was fighting “moral corruption”. The fact that Shia cleric Mohammed Baqer got nearly 10 percent of the first round vote, shows both the sectarian diversity of this constituency and the importance of traditional religious values here.

 

Al-Najjar said he had received offers from several political societies to participate on their lists, but declined, “fearing that this would diminish my chances”.

Abdulhamid al-Najjar at an early stage said he had centred his campaign around the theme of fighting “moral corruption”. However, he has since been vocal about the need to improve the performance of local authorities and better allocation of public funds.

 

Voter demographic

Hamad Town is a demographically mixed conurbation. The majority of voters in the 9th District can be expected to back a Sunni loyalist candidate. However, the diversity of the candidates reflects the presence of Bahrani and Ajam Shia communities, who could influence the vote if they turned out in large numbers.

The very varied first round turnout rates in different Hamad Town constituencies – between 40% and more than 70% – reflects this diversity.

 

First round votes: Hassan al-Alawi – 1091 (23.5%); Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 1061 (22.9%); Yousif Zainal – 952 (20.5%); Abdullah Tarrar – 536 (11.6%); Mohammed Baqer – 421 (9.1%); Ahmed Arad (NUG) – 258 (5.6%); Mahmoud Abdulrahman – 177; Ahmed al-Qahiri – 86; Ahmed Yousif – 52

 

10th Northern – Mohammed al-Ammadi (Minbar)

Areas covered: Hamad Town

Registered voters: 10,552;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 73.5%

Second round vote:

Mohammed al-Ammadi (MP Minbar) – 4551 66.7%)

Khalid al-Maloud (MP Asalah) – 2275 (33.3%)

 

Mohammed Ismail Abbas Ahmed al-Ammadi – Minbar Incumbent

Incumbent MP Mohammed al-Ammadi is the only representative of the Sunni political society Al-Minbar al-Islami to win a seat in the 2014 parliamentary elections. He defeated the candidate for rival Sunni society Al-Asalah, MP Khalid al-Maloud, in the second round run-off.

 

It is worth noting that with 66.7% of the vote and coming nearly 2300 votes ahead of his rival, Mohammed al-Ammadi scored one of the most convincing wins of the second round.

 

Al-Ammadi, a leading figure in the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Al-Minbar al-Islami said that his society’s campaign would focus on how public funds are spent. He stressed that Al-Minbar had a unified campaign which would focus on the economy, infrastructure and improving standards of living.

 

Al-Ammadi added that in his own constituency he wanted to address the issue of service provision, particularly improving access to local health centres and power supply.

 

In the 10th Northern district boundary changes pitted two Sunni Islamist sitting MPs against each other; Khalid al-Maloud from Al-Asalah against Mohammed al-Ammadi. There was clearly a desire to avoid these two Minbar and Asalah heavyweights going head-to-head; either through a Minbar-Asalah electoral alliance; or through one of these figures changing his address following the boundary changes.

 

The National Unity Gathering will have been bitterly disappointed that Sima al-Lengawi failed to make the second round, in a national contest where this society has performed disastrously, failing to get a single candidate to the second round.

 

Voter demographic

The 10th Northern constituency is a long, narrow strip running north to south through densely-populated Hamad Town.

 

Working-class families experiencing growing costs of living and struggling with issues of housing and service provision will be looking for candidates who can deliver on their promises.

 

It is significant that both Asalah and Minbar have played down religious agendas in these elections, focusing on prosaic issues like housing, jobs and services.

 

First round votes: Mohammed al-Ammadi (MP Minbar) – 3643 (49.1%); Khalid al-Maloud (MP Asalah) – 2138 (28.8%); Sima al-Lengawi (NUG) – 798 (10.8%); Hisham Rabeah – 334 (4.5%); Saad Sultan – 317; Abdulqadir Abduljalil – 137; Khalid al-Zubari – 57

 

11th Northern – Jamal Dawoud

Areas covered: Hamad Town, Dar Kulayb

Registered voters: 12,341;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 43.7%

Contest decided by outright win in the first round of voting.

First round votes:

Jamal Dawoud – 3097 (61.67%)

 

Defeated first round candidates: Mohammed Buqais (MP) – 582 (11.6%); Jaffar al-Hamiri – 493 (9.8%); Ali al-Fadhli – 435 (8.7%); Thamir al-Qaran – 415 (8.3%)

 

Jamal Dawoud Salman Ahmed

November 2014 is clearly Jamal Daoud’s moment; having performed strongly but failed to win in both the 2006 and 2010 elections. With 62% of the first round vote allowing Jamal to win outright, this was the third highest score across all of Bahrain.

 

During his campaign Dawoud told Al-Watan: “It was a particular segment of Bahraini society that made it into the previous Parliament. Society must alter its thinking in order to bring in new faces to bring about change”.

 

Jamal denied media reports that he had received support from the Salafist Al-Asalah in the previous round of elections. However, he refused to speculate about whether he would work with any specific political grouping if he won the seat.

Dawoud came second in 2006 with 2841 votes and gained 2283 votes in 2010, but was comfortably beaten by Mohammed al-Ammadi.

 

It was always obvious that Jamal was a front-runner, but it wasn’t obvious how convincingly he would beat MP Mohammed Buqais in the first round. Buqais fought a bullish campaign, gained a lot of media coverage, attracted a lot of visitors to his campaign HQ and seemed to be doing everything right to win back his seat.

 

Buqais’s failure may be a symptom of public frustration with the performance of the previous Parliament or perhaps Buqais personally alienated many local people.

As an outspoken Islamist MP, Buqais often advocated measures to Islamicize society. Buqais can be compared to Jassim al-Saeedi (8th Southern) also an independent Islamist MP who was expected to perform well, but was soundly defeated on polling day.

 

Voter demographic

The Hamad Town constituencies have relatively high numbers of registered voters and 11th Northern is demographically the second largest constituency in Bahrain in terms of registered voters.

 

The inclusion of the Shia-majority Dar Kulayb locality could have allowed the opposition to have commanded this area if they had chosen to contest.

The 44% first round turnout reflects this mixed population – between those advocating for a boycott and those determined to come out and vote.

 

12th Northern – Jamila al-Sammak

Areas covered: Dumistan, Luzi, Karzakan, Malikiyah, Sadad, Shahrakan, Safariyah

Registered voters: 11,323;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 21.7%

Second round vote:

Jamila al-Sammak – 1158 (71.3%)

Ammad al-Sayed – 467 (28.7%)

 

Dr. Jamila Mansour Jassim al-Sammak

Dr. Jamila al-Sammak was an administrative manager for government hospitals. She is now the deputy head of a university and active in civil society and a regular attendee of international conferences.

 

The fact that Jamila came so far ahead of the incumbent MP Khalid Abdulaal is remarkable. With around 47% of the vote in the first ballot, she was close to winning outright in the first round. However, Jamila went on to confirm her victory in the second round with an incredible 71% of the vote – the highest percentage win in the second round competition.

 

Al-Sammak has stated her determination to promote national unity and banish “marginalization, the politics of incitement and the spreading of hatred”. Jamila also said she wanted to address institutional corruption and improve standards of living.

 

Jamila singled out the education issue as particularly important, saying she wanted to promote skilled Bahrainis into educational positions. Jamila stood in a Capital seat in 2006 and gained just 127 votes.

 

Khalid Abdulaal only narrowly won his seat in 2011 with 51% of the vote in the second round against Ali Fardan. Abdulaal seemed to hardly be bothering to contest this election, failed to engage with the media and there is little sign that he went out seriously campaigning at all.

 

Voter demographic

Many localities in this district half-way down Bahrain’s west coast have seen sporadic rioting over the last three years. Visitors to the area in the second week of November noted the lack of elections-related activity and the absence of promotional billboards, except on the main road entering Dumistan.

 

A 21.7% first round turnout, given the boycott, was probably higher for this area than most people were expecting and perhaps reflects a success for the candidates in reaching out to those who are prepared to vote.

 

First round votes: Jamila al-Sammak – 963 (46.5%); Ammad al-Sayed – 315 (15.2%); Khalid Abdulaal (MP) – 287 (13.9%); Abdulrazzaq Fardan – 245 (11.8%); Ali Baqer – 150; Ali Fardan – 111

 

Southern Governorate

southern winners

1st Southern – Khalid al-Shaer

Areas covered: Isa Town

Registered voters: 7,998;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 71.3%

Second round vote:

Khalid al-Shaer – 3281 (67.8%)

Adnan al-Maliki (MP Asalah) – 1559 (32.2%)

 

Khalid Abdulaziz Yousif al-Shaer

Many Bahrainis were pleased to see Khalid al-Shaer perform so strongly in 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.

 

Al-Shaer’s 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.

 

During his candidacy 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”.

 

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.

 

First round votes: Khalid al-Shaer – 1797 (33.1%); Adnan al-Maliki (MP Asalah) – 1198 (22.1%); 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

 

2nd Southern – Mohammed al-Ahmed

Areas covered: Isa Town, Zayid Town

Registered voters: 8,212;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 70.5%

Second round vote:

Mohammed al-Ahmed – 3163 (66.3%)

Isa al-Qadhi (MP) – 1608 (33.7%)

 

Mohammed Salman Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmed

Journalist Mohammed al-Ahmed has achieved a remarkable second round victory over incumbent MP Isa al-Qadhi, with Al-Ahmed winning over 66% of the vote and coming out with around 1500 more votes than his rival.

 

Al-Ahmed has been one of the more visible candidates in the 2014 parliamentary contest, using his understanding of the media and communications tools to reach a wide audience and engage his local constituents.  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”.

 

Earlier in his campaign Al-Ahmed has praised the recent electoral boundary changes as “making a big difference to the political map” and noted 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.

 

Incumbent MP Isa al-Qadhi had 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. 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.

 

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.

 

First round votes: Mohammed al-Ahmed – 1519 (27.4%); Isa al-Qadhi (MP) – 1169 (21.1%); 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

 

3rd Southern – Abdulhalim Murad (Asalah)

Areas covered: North Riffa, Hajiat

Registered voters: 7,227;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 84.3%

Contest decided by outright win in the first round of voting.

First round votes:

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

Defeated first round 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

 

Abdulhalim Abdulaziz Ahmed Murad – Asalah Incumbent

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

 

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 and well-funded campaign. Their campaign posters were often the most visible and these candidates were pushing their strong record of service as municipal councilors and deputies. So the fact that only Abdulhalim Murad succeeded in winning his seat will come as a bitter disappointment to Asalah, which has only won two seats nationally (3rd Southern & 7th Muharraq).

 

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.

 

4th Southern – Mohammed al-Maarifi

Areas covered: Nuwaidrat, Sanad, Hajiat

Registered voters: 8,589;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 79.3%

Second round vote:

Mohammed al-Maarifi – 2938 (50.8%)

Abdulhamid al-Shaikh – 2847 (49.2%)

 

Mohammed Yousif Mohammed al-Maarifi

Businessman Mohammed al-Maarifi has been one of the more visible figures since early on in the contest and few will be surprised by his win in both rounds. However, after coming way ahead of his opponents in the first round; in the run-off rival candidate Abdulhamid al-Shaikh came in less than 100 votes behind Al-Maarifi, in one of the closer second round results.

 

During the contest Al-Maarifi 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.

 

Al-Maarifi had been tipped to be representing the National Unity Gathering. However, he eventually ran as an independent. 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.

 

Voter demographic

This is a mixed – opposition/loyalist Sunni/Shia – constituency and a product of boundary changes and the abolition of the Central Governorate.

 

Nuwaidrat and Sanad are traditionally Shia, but many of the other areas are Sunni or mixed. Given these factors, a turnout of 80% is very impressive.

First round votes: Mohammed al-Maarifi – 2656 (41.0%); Abdulhamid al-Shaikh – 1824 (28.2); Ibrahim al-Mannai – 772 (11.9%); Nabil al-Musaifar – 515 (8.0%); Abdulrahman Abdulkarim – 385; Ashraf al-Assar – 216; Faisal al-Bufalah – 110

 

5th Southern – Khalifa al-Ghanim

Areas covered: West Riffa, Haniniyah, Bukuwarah

Registered voters: 8,788;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 85.4%

Second round vote:

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 3505 (52.1%)

Fawzia Zainal – 3217 (47.86%)

 

Khalifa Abdullah Mohammed al-Ghanim

The success of Khalifa al-Ghanim’s campaign seems to be largely down to his ability to reach out to his grassroots support base directly, attending dozens of local meetings and seeking to reach out as widely as possible to constituents.

Al-Ghanim received little media coverage during the contest 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.

 

On the contrary, his rival contestant Fawzia Zainal was never out of the media and was one of the more vocal candidates in the contest in advocating her policy positions on standards of living, supporting the family and promoting the role of women.

 

Women’s activist Fawzia Zaynal is a popular figure who has a proven public following, having contested several past rounds of parliamentary elections. Her campaigning experience showed through in her ability to gain public exposure. However, at the end of the day Al-Ghanim proved the more able candidate in getting supporters out to vote.

 

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

First round votes: Khalifa al-Ghanim – 2196 (30.3%); Fawzia Zainal – 2095 (28.9%); Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab (Asalah) – 1774 (24.4%); Adel al-Rowaei – 725 (10.0%); Nayef al-Jassim – 431 (5.9%); Mohammed Qarratah – 37

 

6th Southern – Anas Buhindi

 

Areas covered: Northern Riffa, Bukuwarah

Registered voters: 8,262;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 84.0%

Second round vote:

Anas Buhindi – 3676 (62.8%)

Mohammed al-Buainain (Mithaq) – 2178 (37.2%)

 

Anas Ali Ali Saif Buhindi

Shaikh Anis Buhindi is a prominent local cleric and was predicted to be one of the stronger-performing candidates. In the second round Buhindi defeated Mohammed al-Buainain, head of the Mithaq Society, which is part of the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition.

 

Buhindi told the media that 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.

 

Voter demographic

One of the big stories of the elections was the announcement from 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.

 

First round votes: Anas Buhindi – 2310 (34.7%); Mohammed al-Buainain (Mithaq) – 1040 (15.6%); 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

 

7th Southern – Abdullah Bin-Huwail

Areas covered: Nuwaidrat, West Riffa, Rawdhah

Second round vote:

Abdullah Bin-Huwail (MP) – 3540 (59.3%)

Ahmed al-Dossary – 2432 (40.7%)

 

Abdullah Ali Jabir Bin-Huwail – Incumbent

This campaign has come in almost exactly as people predicted, with standing MP Bin Huwail as the winner.  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.

 

Bin-Huwail told the media: “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”.

 

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 Nuwaidrat. 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.

 

First round votes: Abdullah Bin-Huwail (MP) – 2938 (45.4%); Ahmed al-Dossary – 2775 (42.8%); Anwar al-Mohammed – 765 (11.8%)

 

8th Southern – Dhiyab al-Noaimi

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

Registered voters: 6,451;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 82.1%

Second round vote:

Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 2787 (57.7%)

Mohammed al-Sisi – 2047 (42.4%)

 

Dhiyab Mohammed Mohammed Dhiyab al-Noaimi

In the first round Dhiyab al-Noaimi 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.

 

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, Al-Noaimi’s campaign platform was clearly in tune with this frustration.

Al-Noaimi said he would 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

First round votes: Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 1901 (36.7%); Mohammed al-Sisi – 1082 (20.9); Jassim al-Saeedi (MP) – 989 (19.1%); Mohammed al-Awdhani – 748 (14.5); Abdullah al-Azami – 311; Noura Bushehri – 96; Ali al-Rumaihi – 51

 

9th Southern – Mohsin al-Bakri

Areas covered: Southwest coast; Sakhir

Registered voters: 5,090;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 77.7%

Second round vote:

Mohsin al-Bakri – 2144 (60.3%)

Mohammed al-Dossary – 1409 (39.7%)

 

Mohsin Ali Mohammed Abdullah al-Bakri

Municipal councilor Mohsin al-Bakri emerged from the first round of voting with more than twice the number of votes of his closest rival and just a few percentage points short of winning the seat outright. Unsurprisingly, he succeeded in winning comfortably in the second round with over 60% of the vote.

 

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 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.

 

This 9th Southern 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 always 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.

 

First round votes: Mohsin al-Bakri – 1784 (46.6%); Mohammed al-Dossary – 785 (20.5%); Mohammed al-Quwwati (NUG) – 599 (15.6%); Mutib al-Dhawadi – 358 (9.3%); Yousif al-Dossary – 306

 

10th Southern – Ahmed al-Mulla

Areas covered: Southern Bahrain, Dawr & Hawar islands

Registered voters: 2,368;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 45.3%

Contest decided by outright win in the first round of voting.

First round votes:

Ahmed al-Mulla – 834 (80.27%)

Khalid al-Dossary – 205 (19.7%)

 

Ahmed Ibrahim Rashid Rashid al-Mulla – Incumbent

Ahmed al-Mulla won this contest outright in the first round, having gained more than 80% of the vote against his only opponent, Khalid al-Dossary.

Al-Mulla had originally 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 the “Independents Bloc” Abdullah Bin-Huwail.

 

There was little sense of a genuine contest in this 10th Southern 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-Mulla 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.

 

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.

 

Latifa al-Gaoud, who was Bahrain’s first female MP in 2006, had 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 Parliament.

 

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