The Bahrain 2010 elections concluded this morning, with nine of the remaining seats settled in a 2nd round of voting. Al-Minbar Al-Islami bloc won only two of four seats with Dr. Ali Ahmed beating Waad’s Ebrahim Sharif by a small 200 vote margin (Muharraq 3rd) and Mohamed Al-Imadi fending off Asala-backed Independant Jamal Dawood (Northern 6th). Al-Asala bloc won two extra seats making their tally to four seats in parliament where bloc leader Ghanim Al-Buainain passed by Abdulnaser Ibrahim (Muharraq 8th) and 1st timer Ali Al-Zayed beat Al-Minbar Al-Islami’s head Dr. Abdullateef Al-Shaikh (Central 8th) by the slimmest margin of 31 votes!
The remaining five seats were won by Independant candidates kicking out two Minbar, one Al-Asala and Waad’s Dr. Muneera Fakhro. Southern 3rd’s Ahmed Al-Mulla won his seat after his opponent Sh.Sharikh Al-Doseri received orders from the Doseri Tribe’s head for Al-Dammam (KSA) and Bahrain, Sh. Isa bin Ali Al-Doseri to step down as Ahmed Al-Mulla (retired military judge and counselor at the Foreign Ministry) was clearly the “more qualified candidate” in a gesture of Bedouin generosity.
Shapes of things to come
Despite the loss of nearly half of the previous Minbar-Asala alliance’s seats, the 2010 parliament is still an Islamist dominated one with 18 Al-Wefaq, four Al-Asala, two Minbar and Jassim Al-Saeedi, the extreme Salafi Independant making a total of 25 seats.
From the remaining fifteen, there are whispers of the creation of an “Economic bloc” with Isa Al-Kooheji, Adel Al-Asoumi, Othman Al-Rayis, Latifa Al-Gaoud and Abdulla Al-Dossary all having some business backgrounds.
This parliament as sixteen new faces with three MPs (Adnan Al-Malki, Isa Al-Qadhi and Abdulmajeed Al-Sibi’a) upgrading from the Municipality Councils.
Muharraq’s 2nd district made history today by voting in Ms. Fatima Salman as the first woman to be voted in as a Municipality Council member after women failed to get into office in 2002 and 2006.
Two other women reached the 2nd round of voting with Waad’s Dr. Muneera Fakhro losing to Isa Al-Qadhi for MP of Central 4th and Ms. Subah Al-Doseri losing to Ali Al-Moqla for Municipality Council seat in Muharraq’s 7th by a small 350 vote margin.
Nationalists despite defeat should be upbeat
All three of Waad’s candidates failed to win in their districts, despite doing an excellent job with promoting their campaigns and squashing their “terror supporter” tag from the mass media to reach the 2nd round in two districts and receiving a 45% vote with Sami Siyadi.
Al-Minbar Al-Taqadomi’s head Dr. Hasan Madan gave Al-Wefaq’s Jawad Fairooz a scare by winning an impressive 4788 votes (44%) in Northern 8th district and he is already aiming at running for MP again in 2014 by keeping close to his voters.
General Polling stations and military staff
The ghost of the 2006 election General Polling stations where large numbers of “mystery ballots” from these stations changed the outcome in a number of districts (most notably against Waad candidates) haunted many candidates in 2010, but up to this moment there is no sign of their influence in any of the races as all districts were won and lost inside their branch polling stations without them changing the outcome.
The winner of the Halloween costume contest this year were the military zombies who were directed to whom they will cast their votes beforehand and vote for “pro govt.” candidates, as confirmed by a number of friends and acquaintances.
Let’s all hope that these 40 MPs try to improve the quality of our lives by ensuring our rights and giving us opportunities to grow and develop as a country.
Well, the first round results looked very different from my “Fantasy 35″ with Al-Wefaq getting full marks with 18/18 districts keeping their status as the largest bloc in parliament. Al-Asala bloc is now slimmer winning only 2 seats and three candidates (Ebrahim Bu-Sandal, Ghanim Al-Buainain and Ali Zayed) going to the 2nd round. Al-Minbar on the other hand look on the verge of extinction as they have yet to win a single seat with 4 candidates fighting for their representation in the 2nd round.
As for Waad, only Sami Siyadi has lost the elections against Othman Al-Rayis (Independant) with both Ebrahim Shairf and Dr. Munira Fakhro into the 2nd round. If both candidates win their seats the opposition bloc will take up half of the parliament which is encouraging with the rise of Independants and we might see some progress with less sectarian tensions inshalla.
Al-Asala/ Al-Minbar Fallout:
Both blocs created a coalition in 2006 winning over 10 seats between them, but the scenario has changed in 2010 as a well documented fallout has led candidates from both blocs battle it out most notably in the 7th and 8th Central districts as MP Abdulhaleem Murad (Al-Asala) fought out fierce competition from Abdulrahman Al-Hasan (Minbar), whereas in the 8th Central the Asala-Minbar clashes has led to 2nd rounds in both the Parliamentary elections with Dr. Abdullatif Al-Shaikh, the head of the Minbar bloc facing off with 1st timer Ali Zayed of Al-Asala and in the Municipality elections with Waleed Hijris , two time winner from Al-Minbar against Yousif Al-Sabbagh of Al-Asala.
So far, Al-Asala has a slight advantage as many voters are dissapointed with Al-Minbar’s showing in the two previous parliaments and are more likely to vote against them. This fallout has also benefitted a number of Independant candidates with Abdulla bin Huwail (2nd Southern) and Isa Kooheji (5th Muharraq) bulldozing over Mohammed al-Muhanidi of Al-Asala (2nd Southern) and both Rashid Abdulrahman (Asala) and Dr. Adnan Bu-Motai’a (Minbar) in the 5th Muharraq respectively.
Well today is 23rd October 2010, the third elections since the National charter in 2002. Today approximately 320,000 voters will vote for 35 parliamentary seats after five were won by default without competition. With the democratic mood I’m in today, I decided to pick my own “fantasy 35″ to complete what would be a reasonable parliament from my point of view and from the slim picking in a big percentage of the constituencies!
The eye-catching features in this Fantasy 35 is that all three Waad candidates win their seats (including one woman, Munira Fakhro) and four other women win their seats, making it a whopping 6 women in office. This of course means that some Islamic blocs like Al-Wefaq, Al-Menbar Al-Islami and Al-Asala lose some seats whilst Independants keep a healthy 12 seats. Al-Wefaq are still the largest bloc with 13 seats.
I sincerely hope that the parliament looks a little bit like this, and if so, Bahrainis can feel a little bit more optimistic about their futures and the corrupted will break into a sweat.
Only a few hours will tell us what the parliament and what the next four years will store for us..
Do you agree with this fanatsy 35? If not, tell us who would you like to see instead!