By Courtney Trenwith
Group monitoring the recent election claims voters have said they were bribed with cash, campaign billboards have been destroyed
A Bahraini group monitoring the country’s recent election claims some voters were bribed with cash to vote for certain candidates.
Bahrain Dialogue Society vice-president Rashid Al Ghayeb called on authorities to investigated allegations it received from several voters relating to both the first and second rounds of voting.
He said other alleged violations included election staff using their mobile phones rather than assisting voters, no provisions in some centres for veiled female voters and some candidates continuing to campaign during the 24-hour ban leading up to the election.
“In some centres, our monitors saw voters indicating to the candidate they have voted for him,” Al Ghayeb was quoted as saying by Gulf Daily News.
One candidate accused of buying votes has denied the allegation and accused his competitors of attempting to “sabotage” his campaign, the newspaper said.
Four candidates in Manama who were knocked out in the first round of voting also filed a complaint against Ahmed Qarrata, who went head-to-head with Sayed Hashem Al Alawi in the second round of voting on Saturday.
Qarrata said the complaint against him was an attempt to discredit him leading up to the final round of voting.
“I haven't done anything wrong,” he told the GDN.
“They say I was holding passports and trying to pay voters BD50 for voting for me, which is completely false. They don't have any proof to justify the complaint either.
“This is just dirty games, they are trying to do anything to turn my voters against me in the last minutes. I am like any other candidate, I greet my voters, say my hellos and wish them well.”
Some campaigners in the Muharraq electorate also have been accused of using “dirty tactics”, including damaging campaign billboards of competitors, in a bid to boost the campaigns of their candidate.
Prominent rights activist Salman Nasser, who heads a group of independent election monitors, said they recorded several incidents in which campaign posters and hoardings were destroyed.
“Some supporters are pointing fingers at each other for the damage while others are saying the billboards collapsed because of the rains on Friday,” he was quoted as saying.