Definitive guide to Bahrain’s parliamentary elections
Citizens for Bahrain’s elections data is the most comprehensive and detailed English language guide available on the Bahrain 2014 elections process.
The below guide profiles all 40 political constituencies and the 298 candidates whose registration was accepted for their participation in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
The information is based on media reporting, official sources and material provided by the candidates themselves and is the best understanding of the situation as of 21 October. We will endeavor to update this guide as more information becomes available.
The *asterisk indicates female candidates. Incumbent MPs are highlighted in bold. The vast majority of candidates are independents, where candidates are affiliated with a political society, this is highlighted in red.
(Manama northeast coast, Diplomatic Area, Houra, Qudaybiya)
Registered voters: 6,317
Can anyone rival Adel al-Assoumi?
1st Capital is one of the most predominantly loyalist areas within the Capital Governorate and so the result will be closely watched. Adel al-Asoumi is a popular incumbent and will be difficult to displace.
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. One reason for this is that the area encompasses many government and commercial offices, particularly in the Diplomatic Area and Financial Harbour. This is likely to change in the coming years as much of the coastal land has been recently reclaimed and there are several huge residential projects underway.
Adel al-Assoumi - Incumbent
Al-Assoumi: Since 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: “I expect to win by more than 75%. The other names don’t pose any threat to mine.” Seen as a popular and dynamic sitting MP, Al-Asoumi is Head of Bahrain’s National Basketball Association and active in increasing Bahrain’s international sporting profile. Al-Assoumi arrived several hours early for the registration process, in order to ensure that he would be the first person to register in the Capital.
Sulaibikh commented to Al-Ayam newspaper that his campaign would focus on the housing issue “The constituency hasn’t seen any progress in housing for 12 years”. However, he also had an interest in reducing university fees in order to “create a generation of young people who were more aware and better-educated”. Sulaibikh heads a committee for processing housing requests in his local area.
Sulaibikh told Al-Wasat newspaper that he would happily withdraw from the contest if the opposition ended its boycott, saying “the entry of the opposition would reduce the sectarian animosity that is plaguing this country”.
Janahi: “I have entered the 2014 parliamentary elections for one purpose only: To strengthen the position of the citizen”.
Janahi says that his priorities are raising standards of living, support for the retired and housing. He stressed that there were many empty lands in his constituency which could benefit from more housing. In the 2010 municipal elections Janahi lost to a rival candidate by a handful of votes.
(Central Manama, Burhama, Salehiya, Suwayfiyah)
Registered voters: 8,361
Battle of the independents in central Manama
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. As a result, it is difficult to make predictions as to which candidates may do well here.
The incumbent, Ibtisam Hijres took over from an Al-Wefaq candidate in the 2011 by-election, but she is only contesting this area as a result of the boundary changes; she previously represented the 3rd Capital district. Therefore, alternative independent candidates have a strong chance here.
*Ibtisam Hijres – Incumbent
Ibtisam gained her seat in 2011 after the Al-Wefaq MP in her constituency walked out of Parliament.
Bu-Ali told Al-Watan newspaper of his desire to improve local services, reduce unemployment and improve facilities for young people.
Al-Aradi: “Together we build a bridge to cross all obstacles”.
Al-Aradi said that as a result of his previous role in the Human Party (hizb al-insan), greater efforts were required by “intelligent figures” to promote unity and reform. His campaign focuses on “housing, the economy, education and health”.
Former MP Qaratah said his decision to participate had been a last-minute one, based on pressure from local people.
Sayed Hashim al-Alawi
Ahmed Mohsin Ghalib
(Sanabis, Karbabad, Seef)
Registered voters: 10,225
Defying the boycott
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. Incumbent Ali Shamtout won the seat from an Al-Wefaq candidate after the 2011 Al-Wefaq parliamentary walkout and the subsequent by-election.
At least one candidate, Mohammed al-Mawali, has reported multiple attacks against his property by opposition militants; a factor that may deter potential candidates and voters. 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.
Ali Abbas Shamtout - Incumbent
Shamtout said that his campaign slogan would be “You failed us!” which he said was directed both at the Government and former MPs. Shamtout said he wanted to concentrate on health services and addressing “the current political situation”. He said he would continue highlighting the sickle cell issue.
Responding to criticism from a rival he said “yes, I’m poor and still live in a house likely to collapse with five of my children”. Shamtout gained his seat in 2011 after the Al-Wefaq MP in his constituency walked out of Parliament.
Al-Mawali’s home and car were repeatedly attacked by opposition militants after he declared his intention to participate in the elections. However, Al-Mawali confirmed in an interview with Al-Ayam newspaper that these attacks “will not deter me from competing”. He noted that he had received dozens of calls from locals condemning these incidents. Al-Mawali had initially been touted to compete in the 1st Northern district, although both districts are a central focus of the opposition’s boycott attempts.
Al-Mahari said he was encouraged to compete by the calls for a boycott. He said that he expected to face “substantial pressures” after announcing his candidacy. His priorities are infrastructure, employment and housing. Al-Mahari mentioned that he would focus his campaigning efforts on online activity.
Abbas Ali Kayid
Kayid said he would work to reduce unemployment and combat “cumbersome” housing regulations. He said he would also “confront the politicized naturalization”.
Al-Siraj lost to Ali Shamtout in the 2011 by-election. He will be standing as an independent, despite earlier reports that he could be associated with a political society.
Sayed Hashim al-Aradi
(Fateh, Juffair, Ghuraifa, Mina Salman, Umm Hassam, Abu-Ghazzal, Adliya)
Registered voters: 7,014
Two MPs fighting over one seat in one of the toughest contests
This will be a fascinating contest as two (originally three) incumbent deputies have been thrown together by the radical changes in constituency boundaries, along with several other high-profile candidates.
MP Hassan Eid Bukhamas both gained his seat in the 2011 by-election following the Al-Wefaq parliamentary walk-out. Bukhamas, whose former constituency represents the core areas of this constituency (Al-Fateh, Juffair, Mina Salman…) may be the best-placed figure to win this battle, as several pundits have speculated. However, MP Abdulrahman Bumajid also has a solid support base.
Al-Mithaq Society has put forward Ibrahim al-Mannai and there are also several independent figures contesting this constituency, including former Municipal Councilor Adnan al-Nuaimi and popular TV host Ammar al-Banai.
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.
Abdulrahman Bumajid– Incumbent
Bu-Majid’s election slogan “Al-Bahrain tasta’ahal” loosely translates as “Bahrain rises to the challenge”. He said that he registered his candidacy on the first day in order to encourage Bahrainis to vote and sign up as candidates. Bumajid said he welcomed the prospect of going head-to-head with Bukhamas, but admitted that the border changes made things harder for him, noting that his constituency had expanded from 3,500 to 7,000 registered voters.
Hassan Eid Bukhamas – Incumbent
Deputy Bukhamas has stressed that he will prioritize “housing, infrastructure, unemployment, and recruitment”. He also said that he wanted to promote “clean family tourism, particularly in Jufair”. Bukhamas added that he wanted to crack down on “lewd parties, prostitution and the sale of alcohol”.
Bukhamas has twice won a place in Parliament, first in the 2002 elections and then in the 2011 by-election.
Ibrahim al-Mannai – Mithaq
Al-Mannai is a member of Al-Mithaq al-Amal al-Watani (National Action Charter) Society, which is part of the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition. Al-Mannai noted that he had achieved 44% of the vote in previous elections. Al-Mannai formerly served in the Secretariat General of the GCC in Riyadh. He said that his campaign platform focused on “security and stability in Bahrain and developing the performance of state institutions”.
Al-Nuaimi is a former municipal councilor.
Al-Banai said that his priority was raising standards of living for citizens. He talked specifically about increasing public sector wages, “for the sake of achieving social justice”. He said that as an MP he would be dedicated to promoting the priorities of the youth “because the young people for Bahrain are the knights of change and the future of the nation”.
Al-Banai – himself a popular TV presenter and a respected liberal voice – said that he would promote the rights of journalists and the role of the media within the Parliament.
Al-Badu wants to “achieve the demands and desires of citizens”.
Al-Aynati is a prominent lawyer, standing as an independent.
(Bilad al-Qadeem, Zinj, Salmaniya, Segaiya, Mahooz and Abu Asheera)
Registered voters: 7,782
Independents compete to displace Al-Shamari
The inclusion of several opposition strongholds makes 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.
Abdulhakim al-Shamari, who won his seat in 2011 after the sitting Al-Wefaq MP walked out, would be the most obvious figure to put money on, but he is being opposed by several vigorously-campaigning independents.
This constituency features several prominent business figures, including Al-Shamari himself and Adel Al Safr, head of the US Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain.
Abdulhakim al-Shamari – Incumbent
Al-Shamari is the sitting MP who gained his seat in the 2011 by-election. Al-Shamari is also a prominent member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Rashad said he wanted to stand because of the “failures” of previous parliaments. He stressed his independent position in comments to Al-Bilad newspaper, saying he would not accept support from any party.
“The current situation requires change, in terms of increasing standards of living and improving oversight and legislation;” Al-Qusayr told Al-Ayam newspaper.
Qusayr is a prominent advocate for strengthening Bahrain’s sporting achievements. His sporting roles include being treasurer of the Basketball Association.
Adel Al Safr – Al-Watan
Al Safr is the Al Safar Group chairman, associated with the new Al-Watan political society, as well as being the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain. He has promised to promote the Bahraini economy and encourage investment.
Al-Hamar works for the Bahrain Aluminium company, Alba. He claims that the “previous Parliament failed to achieve anything. Therefore, I will seek to serve citizens”.
*Dr. Wafa Omran Ajoor
Ajoor, a medical consultant for 19 years, said she had excellent relationships with local people, having helped “most Bahraini women in giving birth”.
Al-Saleh – a housewife – told journalists that “life experience” was more important for candidacy than educational qualifications.
Hussain Ali Bukhamas
(Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla)
Registered voters: 10,946
Uncertain prospects for 6th Capital
Several areas of this district were incorporated from parts of the Northern Governorate, producing an area where opposition support is prevalent. So it will be interesting to see what proportion of people boycott and how the existing candidates fare.
The candidates are predominantly new faces within political circles, so it remains to be seen who gains greater prominence vis-à-vis their competitors.
*Fatimah Ibrahim al-Akram
Fatimah is focusing her campaign on young people, unemployment and housing. Fatimah tried unsuccessfully to compete for the municipal elections in 2002.
*Dr. Masoumah Hassan Abdulrahim
Dr. Masoumah – a psychologist - has stressed the importance of promoting the role of women in Parliament and other areas of society. She wants to prioritize opportunities for youth, pensioners and women.
Sayed Mohammed Majid Shubar
Shibar warned that Al-Wefaq’s boycott would allow “Salafists and foreigners” to enter Parliament. He will prioritize housing and unemployment in his campaign.
Shubar told journalists that his profession had been “building the walls of all the graveyards in Jid Hafs… I never let a single corpse escape”!
Ali al-Atish – Rabitah
Al-Atish is a former MP, associated with the Rabitah Society.
(Jid Ali, Jurdab)
Registered voters: 10,695
New constituency joins expanded Capital Governorate
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, making voting predictions difficult.
There are no obvious political heavyweights in this newly created district, which has encouraged a number of new faces to declare their candidacy, along with two well-known media figures, Zainab Abdulamir and Ali al-Arabi.
Journalist Zainab Abdulamir has urged greater collaboration between the private and public sectors in order to facilitate job creation for young people. She says youth unemployment will become a substantial problem for the future if more isn’t done to expand opportunities for challenging roles for graduates in the private sector.
Dr. Abdullah al-Dirazi
Deputy head of the National Institution for Human Rights, Al-Dirazi told journalists that there was a need for human rights specialists and experts in law in the Parliament. Al-Dirazi is a well-known figure and his candidacy announcement caused a flurry of interest in the media.
Al-Arabi is a prominent media figure.
Yusuf Nasir al-Qidoum
Al-Qidoum wants to concentrate on the issue of education, for which he says he has a comprehensive plan.
Khalid Ibrahim al-Quwwati
Ridha Ahmed Shukrallah
(Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza)
Registered voters: 9,372
Only three contestants for Sitra
This region was right at the heart of the 2011 unrest and so the boycott is likely to be strong in this district. This is likely to produce unpredictable results, as the candidates will be relying on the proportion of the electorate who defy the opposition’s attempts to obstruct the voting process.
A symptom of these boycott efforts is the appearance of only three candidates in this district. One of these candidates has already been subject to criminal attacks against his property which shows the risks candidates are taking in areas where militants are pushing for a boycott.
Al-Asfour: “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 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, apparently attributed to those opposing his candidacy.
Jaffar Abdullah Abbas
(Southern Sitra, East Eker)
Registered voters: 9,591
This constituency is another entirely new area, made up of several former districts. Being centred around Sitra and Al-Eker, it includes opposition areas, and so will be influenced by the boycott.
Mohammed Abbas Al al-Shaikh
Al-Shaikh: “The call for a boycott disintegrated and failed to get the expected momentum”. Mohammed had competed in previous elections, but this time he thought his chances were better, particularly with the border changes which he said reduced the potential effect of the boycott.
Former MP Buhussain says he will prioritize the issue of public services and housing.
Osamah Muhanna al-Tamimi
Outspoken MP Al-Tamimi was thrown out of Parliament in mid-2014 as a result of his behaviour towards other MPs. It is likely to cause an upset if he performs well.
(West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town)
Registered voters: 10,046
Bahrain’s biggest election contest ever
The emergence of 14 participants for this constituency has resulted in the highest number of contestants in Bahrain’s history.
This district is an entirely new creation which is comprised in part from former districts of the Central Governorate. It is a mixture of loyalist and opposition areas, which has given rise to a broad mix of candidates; including the independent incumbent Sumayyah al-Jawder, who formerly represented 1st Central; and both the Al-Watan and Al-Mithaq Societies.
Mixed central areas like this have tended to favour moderate consensus candidates, hence the appearance of middle-ground groupings like Al-Watan and Mithaq contesting this seat and three rival female candidates.
*Sumayah Abdulrahman Ali al-Jowder - Incumbent
Al-Jowder gained her seat in 2011 after the Al-Wefaq MP in her constituency walked out of Parliament.
Former MP Al-Jowder told the Gulf Daily News: "What was previously known as one of Al-Wefaq's fortresses is now open to all and honestly it is better since it would encourage more competition that would lead to the best getting elected".
"I know that my three-year experience makes me the best candidate and my continuation is something I am eager for since it means that I would go ahead with whatever has been left pending."
Wajih Baqer - Al-Mithaq
Wajih Baqer is a member of Al-Mithaq Society from the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition. However, he appears to have registered as an independent candidate.
Baqer’s slogan: “The nation is built on your vote”. He pledged to concentrate on the issues of housing, low incomes, inflation and education.
*Lulwah al-Mutlaq - Al-Watan
Lulwah al-Mutlaq, the Golden Trust president, will stand as an independent, although she is also a founder member of the recently-established Al-Watan political society. “I don’t want to compete and then just be another one of the other silent deputies, in search of position and financial gain. I want to contribute my energies to serving this people,” she told Al-Ayam newspaper. She said that she wanted to focus her attention on issues she specialized in, namely “human and economic development”.
Bukhuwwah: “The boycott is treason against the Bahraini people, because parliamentary representation means representation of the people, not the Government”.
Lawyer Al-Markh looks to play a role in “restoring national unity and defending citizen’s rights”. He cited the importance of his years of legal experience.
Bahrain Handball Federation chairman Ali Ishaqi, 46, said things had changed since he ran for a seat in 2010: "It was harder four years ago with Al Wefaq, but I won 2,600 votes and this shows that I am capable now more than ever of winning my seat," he said.
"An issue I will take is non-Bahrainis born to Bahraini mothers and their right to choose between nationalities, which needs proper legislation to regulate it."
*Noora Abdullah Matouq
Ma’touq: "I have studied my chances and I had plans to run for a municipal seat in the now dissolved Central Governorate and have been trained by the Supreme Council for Women over the past two years," said the Labour Ministry labour disputes superintendent
Al-Khayyat: “The recent constituency changes were to everyone’s benefit. The new constituencies are fairer”. Al-Khayyat has pledged to promote the issue of Bahraini jobs for Bahrainis. He stressed the need for “real growth for creating more work opportunities”.
Atiyatallah Al Sinan
Al Sinan campaign slogan: “Through your vote we can achieve greater things”.
Sayed Adel Ahmed
Registered voters: 8,071
Al-Moawdah takes on Al-Minbar
Sunni Islamist parties have traditionally done well in this constituency. So predictably we find pro-Muslim Brotherhood Al-Minbar al-Islami competing against a former member of the Salafist Al-Asalah society; incumbent MP Adel al-Moawdah. Al-Moawdah is a prominent figure and will be a tough candidate to beat.
However, many of the independent candidates have cited the decline in support of Bahraini voters for established political groupings, so they will be hoping that this occurs in practice.
Al-Watan, the moderate and more-secular political society, has put forward the female candidate Mariam al-Jowder, but she will have a tough battle to fight to get a significant share of the vote. We can expect this to be a hard-fought contest and go to a second round.
Adel al-Moawdah – formerly Asalah Incumbent
Adel al-Moawdah was a prominent member of the Salafist Al-Asalah Society, before leaving the organization. He won his seat in the 2010 elections and is now standing for the first time as an independent.
Al-Moawdah stressed the need for people of “high skills” in the coming Parliament, for “promoting growth and solving the existing challenges”. He stressed the issues of unemployment, and services for the elderly.
Dr. Saadi Mohammed - Minbar
Dr. Saadi won a parliamentary seat in 2002. Saadi – who represents Al-Minbar al-Islami Society - stressed his good relationship with his opponent Adel al-Moawdah, noting that there had been attempts for a unified candidacy, although Al-Moawdah is no longer a member of Al-Asalah.
Bufursan told Al-Watan newspaper that “people’s aspirations are focused on improving standards of living and the housing issue. Therefore, they didn’t sense any important accomplishments from the previous Parliament in these matters”.
Bufursan has emphasized the importance of support for agriculture and fishing. He complained that fishermen in the Busaiteen area lacked any kind of support, during comments to Al-Ayam.
Aqqab submitted his registration at the last minute after withdrawing his application to contest as a municipal councilor and deciding to contest for Parliament. He stressed the importance of close ties with the local people and cited priority issues such as standards of living, wages, corruption and housing.
Dr. Ahmed al-Obaidli
Dr Al-Obaidli – a human resources consultant – says he will prioritize educational issues. He advocates establishing institutes for vocational education and a general educational strategy for improving standards across Bahrain’s teaching institutions.
Rashidan stressed the need for greater attention given to Bahrain’s democratic reputation around the world, which he said would require close cooperation between the elected deputies.
Registered voters: 7,563
Can the NUG gain their first seat in Muharraq?
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.
Alongside a representative for the Sunni-loyalist National Unity Gathering, there are numerous independent candidates in this constituency who again will be depending on a decline in support for political societies.
Salim Rajab – NUG
Rajab argues that his National Unity Gathering list – which has never held parliamentary seats before – should be given a chance by the public. He said that other political societies had failed to capitalize on their parliamentary seats to improve the lives of citizens.
Former headmaster Bin-Zaiman says he decided to compete after the withdrawal of the prominent candidate Ali Ahmed. He cites a particular interest in fighting corruption. It appears that Bin-Zaiman, a member of Al-Mithaq, had been touted to compete on a list as part of the Al-Fateh Coalition. However, he eventually registered as an independent.
Al-Dosary is a prominent figure in his local Muharraq community. He recently chaired a seminar warning of the dangers of rumor-mongering during the election period. Al-Dossary has also recently been outspoken in condemning “terrorist attacks against government schools”. Al-Dossary stressed the importance of greater efforts by the authorities to crack down on “terrorism”. Al-Dossary is the honorary president of the Fishermen’s Society.
Al-Hashim says that he has promised local people that he will do all he can to promote reforms. Among his priorities, he mentioned housing, unemployment, care for children and the elderly and setting up facilities for young people. His candidacy slogan is “efforts, not promises”.
(Muharraq central, Qalali)
Registered voters: 7,563
Al-Wasat takes on Al-Asalah
The Secretary-General of the Al-Wasat Society – Ahmed Binali – is a prominent face in this contest. Al-Wasat froze their inclusion within the Al-Fateh Coalition during lengthy and tense negotiations prior to the elections in which Al-Fateh ultimately failed to put forward a unified electoral list.
Al-Binali is up against several strong independent candidates and head of the Municipal Council Abdulnasir al-Mahmeed. Al-Mahmeed is a representative of the Salafist Al-Asalah Society, which from the outset refused to coordinate its election campaign with Al-Fateh.
Ahmed Sanad al-Binali - Al-Wasat Secretary-General
Al-Binali caused controversy when he suspended the membership of his society, Al-Wasat, to the Al-Fateh Coalition late in the unsuccessful negotiations to try and adopt a unified list. Al-Binali says that his society “aspires for the middle-ground and places the responsibility on the Bahraini citizen for choosing the best candidate, based on moderation”.
Al-Binali noted that Al-Wasat’s relations with other members of the Al-Fateh Coalition remained strong, pointing out that Al-Fateh had not included an additional candidate to stand against him in 3rd Muharraq (Al-Asalah remains outside Al-Fateh). Al-Binali jold journalists he believed that he had a 50% chance of winning the vote.
Abdulnasir al-Mahmeed – Asalah
Al-Mahmeed – who represents the Salafi Asalah Society - has served for two terms as a Muharraq municipal councilor. For the second term he was the head of the Municipal Council.
Jamal Ali Buhassan
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.
Businessman Murad stressed his commitment to encouraging greater public participation to encourage reform and progress, while avoiding sectarian divisions. In comments to Al-Watan, Murad emphasized the importance of strengthening public awareness about the role of parliamentary deputies, particularly in the area of drafting legislation and oversight of the work of government.
Al-Mutawwa – a municipal councilor for eight years – went to court after the constituency boundary changes were announced, with the intention of changing his address to the 1st Muharraq district. However, the court refused his petition, so he has been compelled to compete in 3rd Muharraq.
“I observed shortcomings in the legislative process and also in the oversight of this work. Both processes require expertise and attention and greater public participation in issues which concern them”.
“I adopted the slogan ‘together’ (ma’an) for my campaign… we are participants in the whole process. The deputy and the voter are joined by a shared purpose”.
Abdallah Mohammed Saad
Registered voters: 7,904
Kooheji versus the NUG
The prominent independent incumbent – Isa al-Kooheji – will have to fight off the National Unity Gathering representative, Ambassador Abdullah al-Aynati; and a number of independent rivals.
Isa al-Kooheji - Incumbent
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.
Abdullah al-Aynati - NUG
Ambassador Al-Aynati will compete on the National Unity Gathering list. Al-Aynati said his campaign would prioritize “housing, education and infrastructure”. He told Al-Watan newspaper that he had entered the campaign because of his concern about the challenges the region was facing. He said he felt that he had skills and experience to contribute based on his long service in the diplomatic corps and his political background.
Al-Murbati claimed that since 2006 electoral contests had gone backwards because of the misuse of political funds. He complained about other contestants giving away gifts like air conditioners to potential voters. He stressed the need for more careful elections monitoring.
Khayami simply told journalists that his campaign platform was the same as the one he’d put forward in 2010, but promised to “wipe out” his rival candidates.
Hamad Abdullah al-Mearaj
*Rima Hassan Halal
(Northeast Muharraq; Amwaj Islands)
Registered voters: 7,199
Mahmoud al-Mahmoud fighting to retain Al-Amwaj
The independent incumbent Mahmoud al-Mahmoud will be hoping to retain his seat, but he will have to compete against several independents and a National Unity Gathering candidate, Sami al-Shaer.
Lying to the northeast corner of Muharraq, this large constituency has the smallest number of registered voters in the Governorate, although it is one of five Muharraq constituencies with between 7,000 and 8,000 voters. Much of this constituency is built on recently reclaimed land, including the trendy Amwaj islands. As a result, the population is predominantly middle class and cosmopolitan.
Mahmoud al-Mahmoud – Incumbent
Al-Mahmoud: “Those who regard the previous Parliament as weak are wrong. Deputies were able to prevent the downfall [of the Parliament] during the crisis Bahrain has undergone, making this an exceptional assembly.”
Mahmoud was the chairman of the “independents block” in the previous Parliament and deputy chairman for the Financial Committee. Mahmoud told Al-Watan newspaper that the revised constituency borders in Muharraq had resulted in more sensible arrangements and would improve chances for the election of “competent” deputies.
Khalid Saleh Bu-Anq
Bu-Anq, the current municipal councilor for 4th Muharraq launched a strong attack against the Muharraq Municipality for “targeting the people of Qalali”, claiming that measures had been taken by the Municipality “for pure electoral purposes”. He said that issues relating to agriculture and local businesses had existed for years, “so why had punitive action only been taken now?”
Ibrahim Ali Ahmed Ibrahim
Ibrahim has been critical of the Interior Ministry’s handling of the post 2011 crisis. He promised to promote human rights if his candidacy was successful and strengthening the principles of the 2002 constitution, as well as opposing all those who “incited violence and hatred”.
Ibrahim has a Masters in Diplomatic Studies from Westminster University in the UK. He is a former diplomat and currently works in banking.
Businessman Al-Majid has criticized the performance of previous parliamentary deputies saying that if MPs had gone about their work with commitment and responsibility then Bahrain by now would have enjoyed “1,000 blessings”.
Mohammed had been tipped to be standing in the 3rd Muharraq district, before confirming his address as 5th Muharraq.
Al-Dakhil: The boundary changes “stir up the stagnant water in the area”. Al-Dakhil emphasized “reform and change” and noted that the competition in the 5th district was likely to be “hot”.
Mohammed Hassan al-Jowder
Al-Jowder has 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.
Sami al-Shaer –NUG
(Dair & Samaheej)
Registered voters: 7,762
How will Muharraq’s Shia-majority communities choose to vote?
Prior to 2011 this district had been held by Al-Wefaq, before being won by an independent candidate Abbas al-Madhi in the by-election that year. The significant opposition population which may in part decide to boycott makes the direction of the vote difficult to predict. However, several figures from the local Shia community have spoken out against the boycott.
Abbas al-Madhi - Incumbent
Al-Madhi is a former deputy who registered at the last minute for the contest. He 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.
Dr. Nabil al-Ashiri
Al-Ashiri has pledged to assist low-income families, as well as focusing on “health, education and housing for citizens and a commitment to increasing their incomes”.
Sayed Dhiya al-Mousawi
Registered voters: 13,204
Asalah vs Minbar
Early on in the election contest it looked like Sunni societies Al-Asalah and Al-Minbar would be contesting against each other. However, in the end, these groupings are only going head-to-head in this and two other constituencies; 10th Northern and 1st Southern.
The constituency was formerly held by independent MP Uthman Sharif. The liberal Al-Watan society is also represented, along with several other prominent independent figures.
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.
Ali Yaqoub al-Muqla – Asalah
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”.
Nasir al-Fadhalah – Minbar
Al-Fadhalah is a leading member of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Al-Minbar society and represented the same constituency during the 2006-2010 Parliament. “Arad is historically linked to both Al-Minbar al-Islami and Al-Asalah Society and the local people are linked to these two societies;” said Al-Fadhalah to Al-Ayam about his electoral prospects.
Badri al-Hammadi – Al-Watan
Al-Hammadi – a lawyer - is a founder member of Al-Watan, the political society which claims to be a moderate voice aspiring for a united Bahrain. However, Al-Hammadi is technically standing as an independent candidate.
Mohammed Mubarak al-Sulaiti
Al-Saliti – a former Finance Ministry official – has confirmed that the economy would be his priority. “I will concentrate on improving quality of life through increasing income for individual Bahrainis and creating new job opportunities”, Al-Saliti told Al-Ayam newspaper.
Mohammed Bin-Isa al-Wazzan
The former head of the local Municipal Council told journalists that his four years of experience on the council had prepared him for serving in Parliament.
Journalist Ibrahim said that his campaign would focus on Bahrainis working together to fight corruption and create a better future for upcoming generations. His slogan is “Together we can” which he is promoting through Twitter and the social media.
Dr. Abdulrahman al-Khashram
Prominent legal expert.
(Southern Muharraq; Hidd)
Registered voters: 9,065
Can Samir Khadim defend his seat?
Until a 2012 by-election, this district had been held by the Salafi Al-Asalah society, before being replaced by independent MP Samir Khadim, who faces a representative from the Sunni society, Al-Saff, and just one other independent candidate.
Samir Khadim – Incumbent
Independent candidate Samir Khadim arrived in Parliament after a 2012 by-election to replace Al-Asalah MP Ghanim al-Buainain.
Abdullah Bughamar – Al-Saff
Bughamar’s promotional material calls for the support of local people. He is representing the Sunni Islamic Al-Saff Society.
(Hilla, Meqsha, Karranah, Janusan, Barbar, Diraz)
Registered voters: 10,749
Candidates queue up to oppose the boycott
This district – which has lost some of its territory to the Capital Governorate – has been right at the centre of the post-2011 unrest. So we can expect the boycott to be dominant here.
Ali Ahmed Ali al-Dirazi – Incumbent
Standing MP Al-Dirazi has expressed his optimism that the new Parliament will be stronger as a result of the large numbers of technocrats competing for seats. In an interview with Al-Ayam he talked about the importance of bringing together a united front to respond to the challenges the country faces. Among his priorities he stressed the issues of housing, improving quality of life and strengthening the private sector.
Al-Dirazi stressed that change could only come through the parliamentary process, and that boycotts in the past had weakened the Bahraini Parliament. Al-Dirazi won his seat in the 2011 by-election, following the Al-Wefaq walk-out.
Yassir Abdulaziz Nassif
Nassif: “As one of the young people from 1st Northern constituency who constitute the majority of the constituents, in am particularly concerned with their requirements. So my campaign will particularly focus on the youth”. Nassif also wants to focus on unemployment and housing.
Hussain Mohammed Habib
Habib stressed his desire to work with “all segments of society to serve the nation and citizens”. His two priority issues are “housing and unemployment, which are of greatest concern to citizens”.
Jaffar Ibrahim al-Asfour
Mohammed Mahdi Shehab
(Markh, Bani Jamra, Diraz)
Registered voters: 6,970
Will voters defy their Ayatollah?
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. Candidates will be targeting the proportion of the electorate who dare to come out and defy this boycott. As a result, candidates themselves are likely to come under pressure.
Jalal has pledged to focus on providing services and improving roads and infrastructure. However, he also 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 is also part of the “Economic Coalition” constituting a number of candidates in Northern and Capital Governorates
Hussain Salman al-Hamar
Fadhil Jassim al-Dirazi
(Northern strip of west coast; Budayya, Haniniyah, Jasra, Hamala, Um Sabiyan, Um Na’san, Jiddah)
Registered voters: 6,082
Three Dossary’s contesting Bahrain’s Sunni northern coastline
This area encompasses many of the Sunni/loyalist localities along the north of Bahrain’s west coast, like Budaya, Hamala and Jasra. Incumbent Hassan al-Dossary is the candidate to beat.
Despite being the largest Northern constituencies in geographical size, 3rd Northern has only 6,082 registered voters.
Hassan al-Dossary – Incumbent
Sitting MP Al-Dossary pledged to focus on housing and standards of living, which he said were the issues voters cared about most.
Hamad Salim al-Dossary
Hamad is campaigning under the slogan “National partnership… national responsibility”, with an emphasis on improving standards of living. He said that this “national responsibility” included action to stamp out corruption and outdated standards of administration.
Firas Samir Nouruddin
Firas told Al-Wasat newspaper of his determination to achieve “fundamental change” in economic and cultural issues and “rejecting hatred”, as well as improving standards of education.
Mamdouh Jaffar Marhoun
Marhoun has pledged to focus on improving wages and standards of living.
Al-Dossary had originally been flagged to be standing as a National Unity Gathering candidate, but was later removed from the list.
(Jidhafs, Jablah Habshi, North Sehla, Qadam, Abu-Quwwah)
Registered voters: 9,277
No longer the largest constituency
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.
The absence of any strong incumbent or other prominent figures has encouraged a flurry of new faces to enter the contest.
*Huda Mansour Radhi
Huda believes that the economy is the most important issue to focus on for solving the challenges which face Bahrain.
Huda’s husband, Hussain al-Muabbir, is contesting the municipal elections. Huda said of the two of them that they are “two sides of the same coin… there needs to be understanding, harmony and coordination between the parliamentary deputy and the council member.”
Huda has accused another female candidate of stealing her election programme and publishing it in the press “word for word”.
Ghazi Faisal Al Rahmah
Saleh Hassan Ali
Abdullah Hamad al-Haddad
Yousif Ahmed Abdullah
Mohammed Jassim al-Aleywi
(Qadam, Hajar, Abu Saiba, Shakhurah, Muqaba, Diraz, Sar, Markh)
Registered voters: 10,388
Eleven candidates say “What boycott”?
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 absence of Al-Wefaq opens electoral opportunities for new, independent faces.
We can assume that many candidates are working by the logic that in areas where the boycott is likely to strong a candidate can prevail with a relatively small number of votes, which encourages figures who in different circumstances wouldn’t normally have stood a chance.
Jamil said that “fighting sectarianism” was his top priority. He told Al-Watan that despite his close ties with political groupings he wanted to contest as an independent in order to “represent all segments of the Bahraini people equally to guarantee the promotion of national unity”.
Jamil cited his years of service in “those Government departments closest to citizens” and his recent Masters in law as among his attributes in an interview with Al-Watan newspaper. He will prioritize housing, infrastructure, inflation and health insurance.
Isa Yousif Taqi
Taqi, a prominent banker, has pledged to invest his “years of experience in human capital, in order to enforce measures on banks and companies – particularly foreign-owned – for increasing the proportion of Bahraini employees and making Bahrainis the first and preferred choice for recruitment.” Taqi added in comments to Al-Ayam newspaper that he would prioritize the upgrading of skills in the private sector and the provision of training for young people.
Al-Aradi is a legal consultant who has stressed to work to increase investment in Bahrain and promote the economy, so as to improve standards of living for Bahrainis. Al-Aradi said that the “previous Parliament failed in its oversight and legislative roles”.
Al-Najjar stressed the importance of “well-qualified” candidates, in order to “turn demands into tangible results on the ground”.
Jamil Ali al-Mahari
Jamil’s brother Shakir has applied to be a candidate in the municipal elections
Sadiq Jaffar Jumah
Mohammed Khalil Ibrahim
Registered voters: 10,704
Al-Saati departs the field in Aali
Aali is an archaeologically significant area as the home of thousands of prehistoric burial mounds. Aali also is home to numerous hardcore opposition supporters and so there will certainly be a significant contingent who decide to boycott.
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. His sudden announcement half-way through the registration process that he wouldn’t be standing came as a surprise to everyone and leaves this contest wide open. The result was a rush of new candidates declaring their candidacies at the last minute.
Saleh said that his candidacy would prioritize “strengthening the sense of national loyalty and social solidarity and the principle of peaceful coexistence between all parts of society”. He also stressed in an interview to Al-Ayam the importance of creating job opportunities for graduates and the importance of recruitment based on merit. Saleh added that he also prioritized parliamentary scrutiny of Government performance.
Sayed Moayed Neamah
Mohammed Mohsin al-Aali
Ali Yousif al-Sayegh
Mohammed Jaffar Al Asfour
Mohammed Abdulrasoul Nassif
Mohammed Ali al-Bahhar
(Al-Qurayah, Janabiyah, Buri, Hamalah, Dumistan)
Registered voters: 10,245
Anybody’s contest in 7th Northern
The lack of a sitting MP or other obvious political heavyweights in this constituency has encouraged numerous independent candidates to declare themselves. It is fair to say that this contest is open to anyone who competes hard and gains prominence. A second-round run-off is almost guaranteed. The same could be said about many of the constituencies running through the centre of Bahrain where boundary changes have left many areas without a standing MP and with political societies often failing to field candidates.
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.
Mohammed Saeed Jaffar Bin-Rajab
Mohammed is son of the former Governor of the Northern Governorate and his brother is contesting to be a municipal councilor. He said he would “fight against the corruption which is running rampant in the country”.
Majid’s candidacy surprised people because he is closely associated with the opposition Shirazi movement.
Hassan is reported to be affiliated with Economic Coalition, which has a small number of associates contesting the elections.
Abbas told journalists that this was his first attempt at a candidacy and he was unsure of his chances, but cited his “energy and abilities” as his primary motivation.
Munir Ahmed Sorrour
Ali Ahmed Makki
Majid Ibrahim Adib
Al-Sayed Ala al-Wadaei
Ali Hassan al-Sakran
(Hamad Town 1-8 roundabout left)
Registered voters: 8,521
Al-Minbar seeks a foothold in Hamad Town
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.
Adel al-Dhawadi – Minbar
Al-Dhawadi noted an accumulated 25 years of political experience. He is a political advisor for Al-Minbar Society. He says the boundary changes encouraged him to participate, believing this would increase his chances.
Al-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”. He 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”.
Jassim Mohammed Hijris
Hijris will be competing for the third time and said that he would be focusing on public services. He said that he wanted to combat unemployment, particularly amongst new graduates. “This constituency cannot be considered the property of any particular grouping whatever certain deluded people may believe. This constituency remains open to competition, particularly after the border changes;” Hijris told Al-Ayam.
Bader Hamad al-Dossary
(Hamad Town 3-12 roundabout right)
Registered voters: 12,315
NUG tries to gain ground on independent rivals
Voters in this section of Hamad Town have a choice between a range of figures. The National Unity Gathering will be hoping that 9th Northern becomes one of their parliamentary seats, but they will have to fight off a string of rival independent figures, such as Abdulhamid al-Najjar and Yousif Zainal.
Ahmed Arad - NUG
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 has centred his campaign around the theme of fighting “moral corruption”.
Yousif Zainulabidin Zainal
Zainal, an MP in the 2002 Parliament, emphasized his commitment to supporting the King’s reform programme. He said that his relationship with local constituents remained strong.
Shaikh Mohammed Baqer Yousif
Yousif is a local preacher, standing as an independent.
Al-Qahiri is a prominent lawyer, standing as an independent.
Ahmed Yousif Mohammed
Abdullah Tarrar Sultan
(Hamad Town 1-8 roundabout right)
Registered voters: 10,552
Three Sunni societies fighting to capture 10th Northern
In the 10th Northern district boundary changes have pitted two Sunni Islamist sitting MPs against each other; Khalid al-Maloud from Al-Asalah will be against Mohammed al-Ammadi.
There was clearly a desire to avoid these two 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. However, their failure to avoid a confrontation will make this constituency a flashpoint in the contest between Sunni Islamist groupings.
Much of the coverage is likely to be about the battle between these two figures, but some analysts predict that independents are in with a chance due to widespread dissatisfaction with the performance of established political societies in previous parliaments.
Khalid al-Maloud – Asalah incumbent
Khalid gained his seat in 2011 when the sitting Al-Wefaq MP walked out of Parliament. In the 2011 by-election Al-Asalah member, Al-Maloud, narrowly won in the second round against Abdulhamid al-Najjar, who is now contesting the 9th Northern district.
Mohammed Ismail al-Ammadi – Minbar Incumbent
Al-Ammadi, a leading figure in the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Al-Minbar al-Islami has said that his society’s campaign will focus on how public funds are spent.
Al-Ammadi stressed that Al-Minbar had a unified campaign which would focus on the economy, infrastructure and improving standards of living. He stressed that in his own constituency he wanted to address the issue of service provision, particularly improving access to local health centres and power supply.
*Sima al-Lengawi – NUG
Al-Lengawi, a member of the National Unity Gathering, noted that 10th Southern district would be one to watch particularly with candidates from three competing societies associated with the Al-Fateh Coalition.
Al-Lengawi has said that she wants to focus on economic issues, particularly revitalizing the economy and promoting Bahrain abroad. However, she also cited the youth, housing and services as key issues.
Al-Lengawi: “No-one can today complain that the Parliament is weak. The Parliament is elected and those who select the representatives in this Parliament are the people. Therefore, the weakness or strength of this Parliament is based on the choices of the electorate for the most suitable candidate”.
Saad: “Democracy is the agent of progress and civilization for peoples and nations... Parliamentary participation is a legal and moral responsibility from the deputy on behalf of the electorate”.
Sayed Abdulqadir Mohammed
Mohammed said that he wanted to improve the quality of life of citizens through increasing wages in both the public and private sector. He told Al-Ayam newspaper: “One of the top priorities of my election campaign is eliminating unemployment through new mechanisms” enabling Bahrainis to improve their levels of skills and qualifications.
Rabeah campaign slogan: “Hand in hand towards a better future – oh my country”
(Dar Kulayb, Hamad Town 13-22 roundabouts)
Registered voters: 12,341
Independent candidates campaign to bring down Buqais
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.
In this southern end of Hamad Town with a diverse demographic, the incumbent MP, Mohammed Buqais - who won his seat from Al-Wefaq in the 2011 by-election – is facing-off against several independent figures.
Mohammed Salim Jassim Buqais - Incumbent
Bu-Qays gained his seat in 2011 when the sitting Al-Wefaq MP walked out of Parliament.
Al-Hamiri wants to focus on “education, housing, pensioners and women”. This his second attempt to win a seat.
Jamal Dawoud Salman
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”.
Ali Salim al-Fadhli
Al-Fadhil, participating for the first time, said that his vision for “content citizens” focused on three areas: “The nation, the citizen and women”. He wanted to prioritize housing, education, increasing wages and the role of women.
(Dumistan, Luzi, Karzakan, Malikiyah, Sadad, Shahrakan, Safariyah)
Registered voters: 11,323
An unclear contest on Bahrain’s west coast
Many localities in this district half-way down Bahrain’s west coast have seen sporadic rioting over the last three years, so certain elements will be supporting the boycott. However, the population in this district is diverse, so incumbent Khalid Abdulaal will be trying to get his supporters out in substantial numbers.
Khalid Abdali Mohammed Abdulaal - Incumbent
Khalid gained his seat in 2011 when the sitting Al-Wefaq MP walked out of Parliament.
Baqer told Al-Watan that he believes the priority issues to be “health, jobs, housing and education”.
Ali Fardan Mohammed
Registered voters: 7,998
Battle of the societies
The incumbent MP, Adnan al-Maliki from the Salafist Al-Asalah will have to compete against two other Sunni groupings, in the form of Al-Minbar al-Islami (Adnan al-Maliki) and the National Unity Gathering (female candidate Jayhan Hadi); along with numerous independent candidates, making this fight likely to go to a second round.
This constituency will be an unpredictable and difficult fight. Because this sector is made up from former districts of the Central Governorate, it is difficult to predict where its new affiliations will lie. Moderate independent candidates have tended to perform well in this central area.
Adnan al-Maliki – Asalah Incumbent
Al-Maliki stated that his society, Al-Asalah, wanted to focus on improving standards of living and improving housing provision during the coming Parliament.
Khalid al-Qattan – Minbar
Al-Qattan told Al-Wasat newspaper that his chances were good “based on my positive role in the National Consensus Dialogue”. He praised the high number of candidates in the 1st Southern constituency as “healthy phenomenon” for providing constituents with a broad choice.
*Jehan Mohammed Hadi – NUG
Jehan was the first woman to register her candidacy in the Southern Governorate and has been a prominent voice since the elections were declared.
Jehan: “Bahrainis are determined to continue on their democratic path which offers wide-ranging freedoms and allows citizens to freely and sincerely express their views, including criticizing Government policies”.
Habib has stressed that “housing and the youth” are his two campaign priorities. Habib cited his past experience of government work on housing issues to illustrate that he had the necessary experience to address people’s aspirations on this issue.
Habib will stand as an independent, saying he wanted to show that independent voices were the best able to reflect the views of citizens.
Al-Shaer told Al-Bilad newspaper that he had gained a lot of political experience since his failed candidacy in the previous elections. He said he would focus his campaign on developing human capital, housing and security.
Al-Amer is an administrative official for a bank. He pledged to prioritize “supporting economic projects and projects for national unity”.
Amer clarified that he was standing as an independent, despite being a member of Mithaq. He said that Bahrainis had “lost trust in political societies”.
(Isa Town, Zayid Town)
Registered voters: 8,212
An open field with no political groupings
The working-class conurbations of Isa Town and Zayid Town have tended to favour loyalist-leaning independent candidates. Incumbent MP Isa al-Qadhi will be facing stiff competition from a string of other independent candidates.
Isa al-Qadhi – Incumbent
Al-Qadhi is an independent MP who won his seat in a second-round run-off in 2010. Al-Qadhi in comments to Al-Wasat newspaper accused many candidates of simply participating for “financial motives”, saying that the large number of candidates in this elections was a negative phenomenon.
Al-Sharqawi has stressed the importance of encouraging young people to participate in the democratic process through outreach to universities and schools, with a view to promoting the King’s reform project. At public meetings Al-Sharqawi has urged that voters promote young candidates “in order to witness their capabilities for accomplishing change”. She has expressed her expectation that women will perform well in the 2014 elections.
Journalist Al-Ahmed has praised the recent electoral boundary changes as “making a big difference to the political map” and has stressed 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.
Retired colonel Al-Zayani has been highly critical of other candidates and the performance of the former Parliament. He said that he wasn’t looking for high positions and glory “like some of those deputies who care about nothing other than that, ignoring the public interest and serving citizens”.
Al-Zayyani questioned whether other heavyweight candidates like Jassim Saeedi had been forces to sit the mandatory tests to check their reading and writing skills.
Al-Dhawadi slogan: “I don’t promise what I can’t deliver. I do what I promise”.
Al-Murbati, 36 years-old, told journalists that he had dreamed of competing since 2002, but only now was he within the age limit. He said that Isa al-Qadhi, the local incumbent had had long enough in his seat.
Abdulaziz says he has put “the youth at the centre of my campaign”. He said that young people could achieve great things for Bahrain, but they “have never been given the chance”.
Yaqoub Yousif Nassim
Nassim initially announced he was standing for election – then withdrew – then returned to the contest. Nassim will stand as an independent, despite being a member of the “Reform Society” associated with Al-Minbar al-Islami.
(North Riffa, Hajiat)
Registered voters: 7,227
Can anybody depose Abdulhalim Murad?
This constituency is in the central loyalist heartland of Al-Riffa. The incumbent Al-Asalah candidate Abdulhalim Murad will be tough to displace.
Abdulhalim Murad – Asalah Incumbent
Al-Ali has pledged to be a “voice representing the youth and their aspirations”. “We young people are capable of undertaking the responsibility of promoting the ideas and acts of the youth in order to maximize the national good”; Al-Ali told Al-Ayam newspaper.
Al-Maloud said that he would put forward a number of solutions for addressing the housing issue and improving the position of families of limited income. He said he wanted to learn lessons from “developed nations” for putting forward creative solutions to these challenges.
Dr Mohammed al-Housani
Al-Housani is a member of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Al-Minbar al-Islami, but is to stand as an independent candidate. He has stressed that he will focus on “improving the lives of citizens and strengthening their sense of belonging to the nation and their loyalty to the leadership”.
Image from Al-Hajji’s registration
(Nuwaidrat, Sanad, Hajiat)
Registered voters: 8,589
Al-Minbar seeking a southern seat
This is a mixed (opposition/loyalist Sunni/Shia) constituency which will make the results very interesting, particularly as this constituency is another product of boundary changes and the abolition of the Central Governorate.
Dr. Hashim al-Madani – Minbar
Al-Madani: “Bahrain, with is Arabic identity and Islamic creed and customs, has always stood in the face of Western interference and moral corruption – With your efforts we can defend it” (promotional advert).
Al-Maarifi had been tipped to be representing the National Unity Gathering. However, after not being included on their final list he is running as an independent. He has been one of the more visible figures since early on in the contest.
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. Businessman Al-Maarifi has stressed the importance of economic experts in the coming Parliament in order to promote economic growth and address the challenges the country faces.
Lawyer Al-Musaifar said he wanted to play a role in raising standards of living. He urged Bahrainis to come out in large numbers to vote.
Faisal Ibrahim al-Bufalah
Faisal told the media that he wants to focus on reducing prices of certain basic goods and increasing wages.
Al-Mannai has pledged to use his skills and experience to “achieve the demands” of local people
(West Riffa, Haniniyah, Bukuwarah)
Registered voters: 8,788
Can Al-Asalah dominate the field?
In this staunchly loyalist area, the battle will be between the representative for the Sunni Al-Minbar al-Islami Society and a few independent candidates. Women’s activist Fawzia Zaynal is also a popular figure.
Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab - Asalah
Al-Hattab, who is standing as a representative for the Salafist Al-Asalah Society, has been the municipal councilor in the Central Governorate for two terms. As head of the municipal council during his second term, he told Al-Watan newspaper that his service gave him valuable experience in liaising with government departments and understanding how they worked”
Al-Jassim said he had put together a “youth bloc” to contest the elections to “prevent the political and religious societies from dominating the assemblies”, calling on people to “free themselves from the dominance of these societies”.
Al-Jassim: “I will enter Parliament with the ideas of the youth in order to change the status quo between deputy and electorate… I have entered the elections to facilitate greater boldness among young people for taking this step.”
Fawzia, a women’s activist, has contested three rounds of parliamentary elections without yet winning a seat. Fawzia says that housing is one of her priorities, as well as addressing unemployment and fighting corruption.
Fawzia stressed the need for “fundamental solutions to the issue of unemployment, supporting pensioners and improving living conditions, especially for divorced women and children”.
Campaign promotional image.
(Northern Riffa, Bukuwarah)
Registered voters: 8,262
Head of Parliament fails to show
One of the big stories of the elections was the announcement of Khalifa al-Dhahraini, the head of the previous Parliament, that he wouldn’t be standing. There were expectations until the last minute that popular pressure may cause him to change his mind. However, his non-appearance opens up the field for untested candidates.
The most prominent figure is Mohammed al-Buainain, head of the Mithaq Society, which is part of the loyalist Al-Fateh Coalition. However there are numerous other independent figures and a “Free Nationalist” Society representative jostling for attention.
Mohammed al-Buainain – Mithaq
Al-Buainain is Secretary-General of Al-Mithaq al-Amal al-Watani (National Action Charter) Society. He appears to have delayed his candidacy until the last minute to ensure Al-Dhahrani wasn’t standing.
*Layla Rajab - Al-Watani al-Hurr
Rajab said that three candidates were associated with her “Free Nationalist” society. In comments to Al-Ayam, Rajab rejected spending excessive money on election campaigns, saying that such money should be donated to better causes. Rajab is competing for the third time, having lost previously to the influential Khalifa al-Dhahrani, head of the last Parliament.
Abdullah Abdulrahman Baqer
Baqer told Al-Ayam newspaper: “Previous deputies have played their role, but the coming Parliament must do more to improve standards of living, which have become very difficult”. Baqer said that he didn’t want to be associated with any political grouping, but desired to “put forward the aspirations of citizens with complete independence”.
Dr. Salah Ahmed Khalifa
Dr Khalifa: Bahrain’s youth are the key to solving the many problems that we suffer from. They can become a positive force if we encourage them to take responsibility”.
Khalifa – Chairman of the Bahrain Technological Institute - promised to use his position within civil society to encourage the participation of local societies in projects to promote growth and education.
Dr. Khalifa: "I was encouraged by many people to participate, as they believe I am the right man for the job." Dr. Salah said he had intended to stand irrespective of whether Al-Dhahrani was participating.
Journalist Al-Hamdan said it was his “dream and aim” to make it to Parliament, while acknowledging the strength of the competition in his constituency.
*Nawal Ahmed Saqer al-Dossary
(Nuwaidrat, West Riffa, Rawdhah)
Registered voters: 8,304
Bin-Huwail the favourite in West Riffa contest
Another mixed constituency with redrawn borders that has attracted a plurality of candidates looking to displace the incumbent MP Abdullah Bin-Huwail, who had previously headed the “Independents Bloc” in the Parliament. Another MP, Ahmed al-Mulla, changed his electoral address to avoid standing in the same constituency as Bin-Huwail.
Abdullah Bin-Huwail - Incumbent
Bin-Huwail: The boycott has failed. The nation is ready to participate and decide its own destiny”. He said that he had decided to be independent because “the independent bloc has proved its role in advancing numerous issues in the 2010 Parliament”.
Al-Dossary: “The success of these elections is a gate to a more prosperous, safe and secure phase.” “Parliament is the route for achieving popular demands, proposals and national initiatives that will benefit all segments of this nation”.
Al-Dossary – a prominent businessman – claimed that he was not seeking personal benefit and pledged to give his wages and any other benefits to the local people.
Ahmed Faisal Jabr al-Dossary
(Southern Sitra, Ma’amir, East Riffa, Awali, Mazrowiyah, Askar, Jaw, Dawr)
Registered voters: 6,451
Will Jassim al-Saeedi conquer all?
Constituency border changes have produced this rather odd constituency, ranging from the opposition home turf of Sitra to the loyalist hearth of Riffa.
After the failure of sitting MP Khamis al-Rumaihi to register, the dominant figure in this contest is outspoken Sunni Islamist MP, Jassim al-Saeedi. It remains to be seen whether other independent candidates can gain sufficient exposure to have any chance.
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 north east in Sitra, which may help create opportunities for a more diverse range of MPs.
Jassim al-Saeedi – Incumbent
Al-Saeedi: “I have a popular following in all constituencies and therefore these changes won’t affect my chances of winning”. 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 has increased his public profile and if anything, intensified his support base.
Al-Noaimi: “Our aim is to support the democratic process and entrench its values, as well as strengthening parliamentary life in our kingdom”.
Al-Sisi: “Each generation has its own ideas. I’m from a different generation from previous deputies... it’s now our turn to move things forward. There is incomplete legislation that new needs new thinking in order to develop it.”
Bushehri wants to concentrate on increasing the incomes of pensioners, while improving employment prospects for recent graduates. Bushehri, who holds a Masters in criminal law, stressed the benefits of well-educated candidates, particularly those from a legal background.
Al-Rumaihi said he wanted to concentrate on finding jobs for unemployed Bahrainis and assisting low-income families, as well as addressing the housing issue and providing more support for pensioners.
Al-Azami: “My primary motivation for candidacy is serving my nation and providing a better life for Bahraini citizens in all constituencies”. He stressed the importance of national unity.
(Southwest coast; Sakhir)
Registered voters: 5,090
The NUG’s southern hope
One of the three sparsely populated but geographically large southern constituencies that will certainly go to a loyalist candidate. Prominent candidates include independent incumbent Abdullah al-Dossary, Mohammed al-Quwwati from the National Unity Gathering; and former head of the Southern Municipal Council, Mohsin al-Bakri - with no less than four candidates from the Dossary tribe.
It is worth pointing out that independent candidates have traditionally performed strongly in the constituencies of the Southern Governorate.
Abdullah al-Dossary – Incumbent
Al-Dossary has warned that allowing too many new faces into the Parliament will weaken it. He stressed the need for skills and experience in the legislative process. He said that his campaign would focus on housing and standards of living.
Mohammed al-Quwwati - NUG
Al-Quwwati said that the National Unity Gathering wanted to “widen” the presence of the middle class in Bahrain. He also stressed the importance of raising standards of living and encouraging “family tourism” to Bahrain.
Mohammed al-Dossary had been included as one of the four candidates from the Mithaq Society, which is part of the Al-Fateh Coalition. However, on 13 October he announced that he would be standing as an independent candidate. He told Al-Ayam newspaper that he was still a member of Al-Mithaq and “proud to be associated with it”. However, after studying his 9th Southern region and canvassing views of constituents, “it became clear to me that people of the constituency didn’t accept candidates associated with political societies. Also my chances are better if I’m dissociated from Al-Mithaq Society or others”.
Mohammed clarified that if he was elected he would remain independent. “I will be close to all parties who collaborate to promote the reformist project, who preserve the established national fundamentals and who work to expand the margins of freedoms and democracy”.
Yousif Fayhan al-Dossary
Yousif was a municipal councilor for two terms between 2002 and 2010. Al-Dossary called on the opposition to participate in the elections, citing the importance of “diversity and different views” in Parliament.
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 like Al-Minbar and Al-Asalah 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.
(Southern Bahrain, Dawr & Hawar islands)
Registered voters: 2,368
Life after Latifa
Latifa al-Gaoud, who was Bahrain’s first female in 2006, has long held on to this constituency although she did not register to participate this time around.
An obvious replacement is sitting MP Ahmed al-Mulla who, as a result of the boundary changes, has now registered to compete in this region. As a result of a few withdrawals and candidacy rejections, he only faces one opponent; Khalid al-Dosary.
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.
Ahmed al-Mulla - Incumbent
Al-Mulla had 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 his “Independents Bloc” Abdullah Bin-Huwail.
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.