Overview

Eleven out of twelve Northern MPs stood again in 2022. Several former MPs, like Jalal Kadhim (2nd), Hamad al-Dossary (3rd), Mohammed al-Ahmed (9th), Abdulhamid al-Najjar (9th), and Mohammed Buqais (11th) also joined the contest. 

In total, eleven past and present Northern Governorate MPs have made it through to the second round.

The most visible political society in this governorate is the Progressive Democratic Tribune, with three candidates, all of whom made it through to the second round, including two standing MPs Sayed Falah Hashem (5th) and Abdulnabi Salman (6th), and new candidate Mahdi al-Shuwaikh (1st). 

The only northern candidate to pull off a first-round victory was the Progressive Democratic Tribune’s popular veteran MP Abdulnabi Salman (6th). National Unity Gathering MP Abdullah al-Dhawadi (8th) also made it through to the second round.

The 5th, 7th and 12th constituencies all had multiple female candidates contesting the seat. Four women made it through to the second round: Kaltham al-Haiki (1stincumbent MP), Maryam al-Sayegh (5th), Basma Mubarak (11th) and Hanan Fardan (12th).

Constituencies like 1st, 2nd and 4th Northern in the past have been highly unpredictable, resulting from low turnouts related to opposition boycotts, although 2022 has seen significant increases in overall turnout.

First round results

1st: Second round runoff between Mahdi al-Shuwaikh and Kaltham al-Haiki (incumbent MP).

2nd: Second round runoff between Jalal Kadhim (former MP) and Ali Saeed al-Dirazi.

3rd: Second round runoff between Walid al-Dossary and Abdullah Khalil al-Dossary (incumbent MP).

4th: Second round runoff between Hassan Ibrahim and Ali Mayouf.

5th: Second round runoff between Falah Hashem (incumbent MP) and Maryam al-Sayegh.

6th: Abdulnabi Salman (incumbent MP) victory.

7th: Second round runoff between Munir Sorour (incumbent MP) and Majid Adib

8th: Second round runoff between Abdullah Khalifa al-Dhawadi (incumbent MP) and Abdulhakim al-Shinu.

9th: Second round runoff between Mohammad al-Ahmad (former MP) and Abbas al-Omani.

10th: Second round runoff between Bassim al-Maliki (incumbent MP) and Jamil Dad Mulla Hassan.

11th: Second round runoff between Mohammad Suwaid (incumbent MP) and Basma Mubarak.

12th: Second round runoff between Mahmoud Makki al-Bahrani (incumbent MP) and Hanan Fardan.

1st Northern

Second round runoff between Mehdi al-Shuwaikh and Kaltham al-Haiki (incumbent MP).

Kaltham al-Haiki was the most vigorous candidate throughout the 2018 local contest, coming a well-deserved first-place in round one, while defeating Habib Shabib in round two.

Al-Haiki is standing in 2022, along with Mohammed Rabea who stood in 2018, and five other relatively untested candidates. Mahdi al-Shuwaikh represents the Progressive Democratic Tribune society.

In the event, Mahdi al-Shuwaikh pulled off a convincing first-round win, with 42% of the vote (1095 votes), with incumbent MP Kaltham al-Haiki following with 18% (469) of the vote. Voting numbers in this constituency are significantly higher than in the 2014 and 2018 elections, which were impacted by boycotts. 

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

Number of candidates: 7

Voter demographic

This district – which has lost some of its territory to the Capital Governorate in the 2014 boundary changes – was right at the centre of the post-2011 unrest. So unsurprisingly, in 2014 the boycott was very strong here, with only around 8% of people voting. Many candidate billboards were attacked and burnt. There was a somewhat more visible competition in 2018.

2nd Northern

Second round runoff between Jalal Kadhim (former MP) and Ali Saeed al-Dirazi.

In a contest of only three candidates with a low turnout, municipal councillor Fatima Abbas in 2018 sailed straight into Parliament with an outright majority of votes.

The 2022 contest has been somewhat more competitive, with Fatima standing against six other candidates, including an MP from the 2014 Parliament, Jalal Kadhim.

Former MP Jalal Kadhim has bounced back strongly in the 2022 first round, with 38% of the vote (835 votes), with Ali al-Dirazi also making a strong showing with 35% of the vote. MP Fatima Mohammed was beaten into third place with 12% of the vote. Another female candidate, Thuraya al-Ansari came fourth place. 

Areas covered: Markh, Bani Jamra, Diraz

Number of candidates: 7

Voter demographic

Diraz is the former home of Ayatollah Isa Qassim, spiritual leader of the disbanded Al-Wefaq Islamic Society, who in 2014 was leading the call for a boycott of the parliamentary elections. Thus, it wasn’t surprising that the 2014 vote turnout was only around 8%. Ayatollah Qassim continues to call on a boycott of the 2022 elections.

In these tense circumstances the 2014 candidates themselves came under pressure: Mahmoud al-Jamri withdrew his candidacy and Hussain al-Hamar’s car was set alight by militants. Jalal Kadhim was the only figure visibly pursuing his candidacy, with coverage in the media, online activity and posters advocating his candidacy, some of which were vandalized. He was also the only one known to have opened a campaign headquarters to receive members of the public. The 2018 elections also saw a weak turnout, although there has been a modest improvement in 2022.

3rd Northern

Second round runoff between Walid al-Dossary and Abdullah Khalil al-Dossary (incumbent MP).

Hamad al-Dossary in 2014 vanquished former MP Hassan al-Dossary. In 2018 two new Dossary’s – Abdullah and Hafidh – faced off in the second round, Abdullah won with 2409 votes.

In 2022, incumbent Abdullah al-Dossary, faced off against former MP Hamad al-Dossary, and seven other candidates.

In the 2022 first round Walid al-Dossary got 29% of the vote (2127), with MP Abdullah al-Dossary also making it through to the second round with 15% of the vote (1105). Former MP Hamad al-Dossary limped into fifth place with just 630 votes. The only female contestant, Amani al-Nafeei, made it into third place, with 952 votes.

Areas covered: Northern strip of west coast; Budaiya, Jasra, Hamala, Um Sabiyan, Um Nassan, Jiddah

Number of candidates: 9

Voter demographic

This area encompasses many of the Sunni/loyalist localities along the north of Bahrain’s west coast, like Budaiya, 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. In fact one Al-Watan newspaper analysis described local elites as perceiving the elections in this district purely as a contest to show which tribe was on top. Hence, in previous years, there has been vigorous rivalry over who can put the largest billboards in the most conspicuous positions, but less evidence of significant policy debate through the media.

4th Northern

Second round runoff between Hassan Ibrahim and Ali Mayouf.

Ghazi Al Rahmah was one of the few standing MPs who emerged convincingly ahead in the 2018 second round with 2456 votes. 

However, Ghazi Al Rahmah is not running for the 2022 elections. Of the nine 2022 contestants, four stood in 2018; Ali Mayouf, Amal Salman, Jihad al-Momin and Ibrahim Al Shehab. Of these four, Mayouf won the most votes in 2018, in a low-turnout contest.

Hassan Ibrahim and Ali Mayouf made it into the 2022 second-round with 40% and 15% of the vote respectively (2303 and 866 votes). Two female contestants, Laiqa Salman and Amal Salman made it into fourth and fifth place.

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

Number of candidates: 9

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 wider Sehla area) has been incorporated into the Capital Governorate, leaving behind a constituency with an approximately average number of voters. Voting levels have steadily increased after pro-opposition boycotts in 2014.

5th Northern

Second round runoff between Falah Hashem (incumbent MP) and Maryam al-Sayegh.

In previous elections, both 4th and 5th Northern constituencies had a record number of candidates. Ahmed Ghuloom in 2018 came top in round one, but was subsequently beaten by Progressive Democratic Tribune candidate Sayed Falah Hashem. Hashem stood again in 2022 against 10 relatively new faces, including four female candidates.

Sayed Falah Hashem and Maryam al-Sayegh made it into the second round with 20% and 18% of the vote (866 and 799 votes).

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

Number of candidates: 11

Voter demographic

This constituency was considered to have one of the toughest battles in the top half of the Northern Governorate. It also was a vigorous area for campaigning in 2014 where, in contrast with neighbouring constituencies where election campaigns had been almost invisible, dozens of candidate billboards sprung up along the main highways traversing this area.

Several of the villages in this district between 2011 and 2014 familiar as rioting hotspots, fueling active opposition to participation in elections. However, extensive new housing developments in this area have given rise to a cosmopolitan mix of middle-class families who can be expected to turn out and vote, making this one of Bahrain’s more diverse areas.

Housing blocks: 449, 453, 435, 439, 441, 447, 457, 702, 704, 706, 708, 712, 714, 744

6th Northern

Abdulnabi Salman (incumbent MP) first round victory.

Abdulnabi Salman served as an MP between 2002 and 2006. He represents the Progressive Democratic Tribune society. In a surprising return to frontline politics, he won his seat outright in round one in 2018. Salman again managed a masterful first-round win in 2022, winning a convincing 69% of the vote (4090 votes). Nadia Ismael came second place with 12% of the vote.

Incumbent Areas covered: Aali

Number of candidates: 8

Voter demographic

Aali is an archaeologically significant area as the home of thousands of prehistoric burial mounds. The old village of Aali is predominantly Shia. Much of the newer development in Aali has gone to Sunni families, “described by one commentator as “technocrats, liberals and business figures”.

7th Northern

Second round runoff between Munir Sorour (incumbent MP) and Majid Adib

Training consultant Munir Soroor faced off against businessman Ahmed al-Dumistani in 2018; with only 50 votes between them in the first round and Dumistani gaining poll position in round two. Both Soroor and Dumistani stood in 2022, along with two other 2018 candidates, Ali Sakran and Majid Adeeb.

Majid Adeeb and Munir Soroor made it into the second round, both with around 15% of the vote (853 and 922 votes respectively).

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

Number of candidates: 10

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 Damistan and Al-Qurrayah which are predominantly Shia and contain elements supportive of the opposition. Many of the older Shia families, like Asfour, Aali and Bin-Rajab are widely loyalist in orientation, along with Ajam communities, of Iranian origin. Hence the confusion of candidates who are respectively positioning themselves to gain pro-opposition votes, middle-class votes, or the support of traditional elites.

8th Northern

Second round runoff between Abdullah Khalifa al-Dhawadi (incumbent MP) and Abdulhakim al-Shinu.

After all National Unity Gathering candidates enduring a wipe-out in the 2014 elections, its 2018 winning candidate Abdullah al-Dhawadi put the society back on track to retain its national profile. 

In 2022, along with the incumbent Al-Dhawadi, the constituency witnesses the candidacy of former Secretary General of the National Institution for Human Rights Dr. Ahmed Farhan, and Khaled al-Manasir who stood in 2018. 

Incumbent Abdullah al-Dhawadi (40%, 3555 votes) and Abdulhakim al-Shinu (18%, 1630) made it into the second round in 2022, with Al-Dhawadi the likely favourite.

Areas covered: Hamad Town

Number of candidates: 8

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. 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.

2022 candidates

Abdullah Khalifa Juma Abdulkarim al-Dhawadi – incumbent, NUG

Khaled Abdullah Abdulaziz Hamad al-Manasir

Ahmed Abdullah Farhan Thani

Abdulhakim Mohammed Issa al-Shinu

Yaqoub Yousif Abdullatif Showaiter

Salman Saif Mohammed Ahmed Hassan al-Shammari

Suha Youssef Ahmed Abdulrahman al-Qowzi

Amir Mohammed Saqr Mohammed al-Rowaie

9th Northern

Second round runoff between Mohammad Salih al-Ahmad (former MP) and Abbas al-Omani.

Former MP Yousif Zainal, from the 2002-2006 Parliament, regained a parliamentary seat in 2018 after defeating Abbas al-Omani, who came narrowly ahead in round one.

In 2022 Zainal faced off against former MPs Abdulhamid al-Najjar and Mohammed al-Ahmed (previously 2nd Southern) – both of whom served in the 2014-2018 Parliament. Abbas al-Omani and Latifah Mohammed also performed well in 2018.

Abbas al-Omani and Mohammed al-Ahmed were neck-a-neck in the 2022 first round, both gaining around 1500 votes and around 22% of the vote share, with Al-Ahmed slightly ahead. Ahmed al-Hiddi was close behind with 20%, yet incumbent MP Yousif Zainal struggled into sixth place with just 483 votes and former MP Abdulhamid al-Najjar came seventh place with a measly 323 votes.

Areas covered: Hamad Town

Number of candidates: 10

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. In the 2014, 2018 and 2022 elections Shia clerical figures participated.

10th Northern

Second round runoff between Bassim al-Maliki (incumbent MP) and Jamil Dad Mulla Hassan.

In 2018, after round one MP Mohammed al-Ammadi, from Al-Minbar al-Islami society, was in first place. Yet civil servant Bassim al-Maliki overtook him in round two.

In 2022, incumbent al-Maliki competed against two strongly performing former candidates, Jamil Hassan and Hisham Rabea; along with three others. Al-Maliki and Jamil Hassan made it into the second round, with 30% and 28% of the vote respectively (2748 and 2540 votes) respectively.

Areas covered: Hamad Town

Number of candidates: 6

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.

11th Northern

Second round runoff between Mohammad Suwaid and Basma Mubarak.

In 2018, Mohammed Buhamood, head of the Northern Governorate Municipal Council, easily knocked out Ali al-Fadhli in the second round, after already defeating MP Jamal Dawoud.

Buhamood in 2022 faced off against former MP Mohammed Buqais, and former candidates Ali al-Fadhli and Zaid al-Anzi.

In the event, two new candidates made it through to the second round, Muhammad Suwaid (24%, 1771 votes) and Basma Mubarak (16%, 1173 votes). Incumbent MP Buhamood and former MP Mohammed Buqais were beaten into third and fourth place in a highly competitive contest. 

Areas covered: Hamad Town, Dar Kulayb

Number of candidates: 9

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 as a result of the 2104 constituency boundary changes could in the future allow for a more diverse pattern of representation, although the opposition boycott in 2014 suppressed possibilities of this and once again in 2018 the vote was dominated by conservative Sunni Islamists.

12th Northern

Second round runoff between Mahmoud Makki al-Bahrani (incumbent MP) and Hanan Fardan.

Maryam Madan was too far behind after the 2018 first round to have a credible prospect of overtaking Mahmood al-Bahrani in round two.

Al-Bahrani and Madan faced off again in 2022, in a contest with four female candidates.

Bahrani came top in the 2022 first round with 23% of the vote (1859 votes). Hanan Fardan followed close behind and made it into the second round with 21% (1727). The other female candidates Maryam Madan, Noura al-Dossary and Rua al-Sayyid came third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

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

Number of candidates: 10

Voter demographic

Many localities in this district half-way down Bahrain’s west coast witnessed sporadic rioting in the years after 2011 years, so in 2014 certain elements supported the boycott. Nevertheless, voter turnout was higher than in other Northern Governorate opposition strongholds. The population in this district is diverse, sometimes resulting in unexpected electoral outcomes.

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