Capital constituencies in the 2022 first round have witnessed tough competitions, with only two candidates winning outright in the first round; new candidate Mohammed Janahi in 1st Capital, replacing longstanding MP Adel al-Asoumi, and incumbent MP Zainab Abdulamir.
Alongside Zainab Abdulamir, there are three other female candidates through to the second round; Zainab al-Haiki (3rd Capital), Jalilah Alawi (8th Capital), and Eman Shuwaiter.
Eman is the only second-round candidate in Capital Governorate representing a political society (Progressive Tribune)
An unusually five incumbent MPs are through to the second round: Mamdouh al-Saleh (3rd), Ammar Ahmed al-Bannai (4th), Ahmed al-Saloom (5th); Ammar Abbas al-Mukhtar (9th) and Ali Ishaqi (10th). This is in addition to former MPs Ahmed Qaratah (2nd) and Hassan Eid Bukhamas (4th)
The Capital Governorate is a very diverse region; from the hotels, embassies and tower-blocs of 1st Capital; to opposition-leaning areas like 3rd, 7th and 9th Capital; to traditional market areas like 2nd Capital; and more cosmopolitan areas, like 10thCapital.
1st: Mohammed Hussein Janahi outright victory.
2nd: Second round between Ahmed Qaratah (former MP) and Salman al-Houti.
3rd: Second round between Mamdouh al-Saleh and Zainab al-Haiki.
4th: Second round between Hassan Eid Bukhamas (former MP) and Ammar Ahmed al-Bannai (incumbent MP).
5th: Second round between Ahmed al-Saloom and Mohammed al-Jabri.
6th: Second round between Mohammad Mirza Fardan and Sayed Muhammad Mahdi Salman.
7th: Zainab Abdulamir outright victory (incumbent MP).
8th: Second round between Jalilah Alawi and Hussein Ali Idrabouh.
9th: Second round between Ammar Abbas al-Mukhtar and Mohsen Al-Asboul.
10th: Second round between Eman Shuwaiter (Progressive Tribune) and Ali Ishaqi (incumbent MP).
Mohammed Hussein Janahi outright victory.
In 2018, longstanding MP Adel al-Asoumi once again easily wiped the competition off the field with a dominant result. Al-Asoumi was forced to step down in the 2022 contest, based on a petition from rival candidate, Murad Ali, that al-Asoumi wasn’t a full-time resident in the area. Asoumi’s 2022 removal from the competition (after holding the seat since 2006) blew the race wide open, leaving just two candidates.
Janahi scored an outright 2022 first round win, with 78% of the vote (2310 votes) – the highest percentage for any candidate in the nationwide contest! Some observers noted that Janahi’s vote came largely from Asoumi supporters, as a backlash against Murad Ali’s court petition.
Areas covered: Manama northeast coast, Diplomatic Area, Houra, Qudaibiya
Number of first round candidates: 2
1st Capital is one of the most predominantly loyalist areas within the Capital Governorate. 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.
Second round runoff between Ahmed Qaratah (former MP) and Salman al-Houti.
The 2014-18 MP for this district, Ahmed Qaratah had been forced to drop out of the 2018 race after several of his rivals petitioned that he was ineligible to stand, because he wasn’t living in the area. However, Qaratah successfully applied to participate in the 2022 contest.
Other than Sawsan Kamal and Ahmed Qaratah, most of the many candidates standing in 2022 are new to the contest, with the exception of Aladin al-Nouh.
Qaratah came way ahead of the other candidates with 41% of the 2022 first-round vote (1111 votes). Al-Houti also made it into the second round with 14% of the vote (371 votes). Sawsan Kamal, Hussein Bin Rajab and Hamid Sultan acquired more than 200 votes each.
Areas covered: Central Manama, Burhama, Salehiya, Suwayfiyah
Number of first round candidates: 11
This constituency includes the traditional market centre of Manama. The population of this constituency is around 80% Shia.
Second round runoff between Mamdouh al-Saleh and Zainab al-Haiki.
In 2018, 3rd capital was the only constituency where a candidate came top in the first round with less than 500 votes, making it one of the few areas where the opposition boycott remained strong. Local businessman Mamdouh al-Saleh came through to win in the second round with just over 900 votes. In 2022 most of al-Saleh’s first-round rivals were relative unknowns.
Al-Saleh fell just short of an outright 2022 first-round win, with 48% of the votes (1219 votes). Zainab al-Haiki performed respectably with 20% of the vote (499).
Areas covered: Sanabis, Karbabad, Seef
Number of first round candidates: 8
This district is a combination of the fashionable Seef District which features several of Manama’s most popular malls; alongside localities like Sanabis and Karbabad which were formerly hotbeds for the opposition.
Second round runoff between Hassan Eid Bukhamas (former MP) and Ammar Ahmed al-Bannai (incumbent MP).
Following a disappointing electoral performance in 2014, in 2018 popular journalist Ammar al-Bannai convincingly beat incumbent MP Abdulrahman Bumjaid, with Bannai winning twice as many votes in round two. Former MP Hassan Bukhamas (2012-14) was forced out of the 2018 race in round one.
Incumbent Bannai and Bukhamas were always expected to be the dominant candidates in 2022, among a number of relative unknowns. Bukhamas won 35% of the first-round votes (1236 votes). Al-Bannai came in at 17% (611), making it into the second round. Female contestants Baria Khamis and Noura Khonji also did well, both gaining over 10% of votes.
Areas covered: Fateh, Juffair, Ghuraifa, Mina Salman, Umm Hassam, Abu-Ghazzal, Adliya
Number of first round candidates: 7
This district includes the area around Bahrain’s central Al-Fateh Mosque, the popular coastal Juffair area and the culturally-significant locality of Adliya. However, this region contains a diverse range of localities: Middle class and working class; a broad range of political affiliations and a mix between Sunni-majority and Shia-majority areas; including Ajam Bahrainis of Iranian origin, who are often loyalist in orientation.
Second round runoff between Ahmed al-Saloom (incumbent MP) and Mohammed al-Jabri.
In 2018, vigourous young campaigner Ahmed al-Saloom from Bahrain’s Chamber of Commerce defeated incumbent MP Nasser al-Qaseer in round two by a very large margin. Al-Saloom in 2022’s first round faced a range of new and untested faces.
Al-Saloom performed strongly in the 2022 first round, with 44% of the vote (1,332 votes), followed by Mohammed al-Jabri with 24% (733).
Areas covered: Bilad al-Qadeem, Zinj, Salmaniya, Segaya, Mahooz and Abu Asheera
Number of first round candidates: 8
The inclusion of several opposition strongholds during the 2014 boundary redrawing made this sector an unpredictable one, although professional Shia candidates have tended to do well in these areas.
Second round runoff between Mohammed Mirza Fardan and Sayrfd Mohammed Mahdi Salman.
In 2018, psychologist Dr. Masooma Abdulrahim was just a handful of votes behind MP Ali al-Atish after round one; but went on to win convincingly in round two.
With Dr. Masooma not making it through to the 2022 second round, the incoming MP is set to be a new face.
In the 2022 first round, Mahmoud Mirza gained 30% of the vote (1685 votes), versus Sayed Mohammed Mahdi, with 22% (1,229).
Areas covered: Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla
Number of first round candidates: 13
Several areas of this district were incorporated from parts of the Northern Governorate in 2014 boundary changes, producing an area where opposition support previously tended to be prevalent.
Zainab Abdulamir outright victory (incumbent MP).
In 2018, Afaf al-Mousawi ultimately failed to catch up with experienced campaigner Zainab Abdulamir in round two.
Zainab competed in 2022 against 15 other relatively untested candidates (Majdi al-Nashet and Jaffar Mahfouz have previously contested the local municipal elections). The eight female candidates competing in this constituency is an impressive figure, although this likely diluted the female vote. This is also the only constituency where eight women were running against eight men in 2022.
Zainab again won easily in the 2022 first round, with 51% of the vote (3,202 votes). No other single candidate gained more than 10% of the vote.
Areas covered: Jidali, Jurdab
Number of first round candidates: 16
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. This area has tended to have one of the highest 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.
Second round runoff between Jalilah Alawi and Hussein Ali Idrabouh.
In 2018, a relatively unknown candidate, Fadhil Abbas, made it into Parliament via a second-round win. MP Majeed al-Asfour lost his seat.
In 2022 there were two women competing in the first round, in a constituency which generally hasn’t seen women participate previously.
Jalilah Alawi won 33% of the first-round vote (766 votes), ahead of Hussein Idrabouh with 22% (502). Incumbent Fadhel al-Sawwad and Zahra Rabeei also both gained more than 12% of the votes, in a contest where once again numbers of overall votes was relatively low.
Areas covered: Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza
Number of first round candidates: 9
This constituency, centred around Sitra, in 2014 represented one of the strongest areas of support for the opposition’s vote boycott. Hence, repeated attacks were reported against candidates and their property. In 2018 the boycott took a less organized and visible form, nevertheless, levels of voting were relatively low; particularly after no vote was held here in 2014 because on elections day only one candidate remained in the race.
Second round runoff between Ammar Abbas al-Mukhtar (incumbent MP) and Mohsen al-Asboul.
In 2018, MP Mohammed Milad only succeeded in gaining 52 votes, leaving two new and relatively unknown figures in first place; Ammar Hussain al-Mukhtar and Dr. Zahra Haram. Following a convincing second-round win, Mukhtar made it into Parliament.
In a very close first round vote, both Ammar Abbas and Mohsen al-Asboul gained around 34% of votes (1047 and 1033 respectively). Ibrahim al-Asfour and Ahmed Abdali both gained around 16% of votes.
Areas covered: Southern Sitra, East Eker
Number of first round candidates: 4
Being centred around Sitra and Al-Eker, this constituency includes pro-opposition areas, and so has previously been influenced by calls for vote boycotts.
Second round runoff between Eman Showaiter (Progressive Tribune) and Ali Ishaqi (incumbent MP).
In 2018, Progressive Tribune candidate Eman Showaiter lost to Handball Federation chairman Ali Ishaqi in the second round; with Ishaqi coming top with a 3279-vote win.
In 2022 these two individuals again were the two most prominent candidates, setting the stage for a repeat battle.
In 2022 Showaiter is just about the only candidate representing a political society in the Capital Governorate – following previous rounds of elections when society affiliation was generally seen to be a vote loser. She appears to be the only candidate representing the Progressive Tribune society.
Showaiter won 23% of the 2022 first-round vote (1352 votes), against incumbent Ishaqi who gained 17% (1136). Nawwaf al-Jishi and Najma Taqi also exceeded 12% of the vote.
Areas covered: West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town
Number of first round candidates: 13
This relatively cosmopolitan constituency was a new creation resulting from the 2014 constituency boundary reforms, largely put together from the cancelled Central Governorate.