Bahrain in crackdown against election corruption

At least 150 people will be trained to expose bribery, harassment, other forms of electoral fraud in lead up to Nov 22 poll
Bahrain in crackdown against election corruption
Bahrain Shura Council and House of Representatives in Manama. (MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)
By Courtney Trenwith
Sun 28 Sep 2014 02:20 PM

Bahrain will train at least 150 observers to expose bribery, harassment and other forms of electoral fraud in the lead up to national polls on November 22, Gulf Daily News has reported.

The government’s main rights watchdog, National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR), will train the election monitors, while other non-governmental organisations also have said they will have observers in place.

"They will register different violations such as attempts by candidates to bribe voters and offences committed during election campaigns," NIHR president Dr Abdulaziz Abul told the GDN.

In the lead up to the 2010 election, NIHR reported campaign billboards were vandalised, while some campaigners made threatening phone calls and sent intimidating text messages. Children also were used to campaign on behalf of candidates outside polling stations and some veiled women were harassed while trying to cast their vote.

A new report highlighting the institution's findings and recommendations will be produced following this year's polls, Dr Abul said.

Independent activist Salman Naser told the GDN he was forming his own team of observers, in co-ordination with a rights group that has not yet officially announced its participation.

"We will have a team of 70 people who will be working round the clock before and during elections," he said.

"In addition to volunteers on the ground, there will also be an 'e-team' who will monitor social media for any content that incites hatred or violates the law."

Bahrain has been marred by anti-government protests since early 2011, as majority Shias fight for greater participation in the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s governance.

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