Font Size

- Aa +

Thu 21 Oct 2010 03:32 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain

Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Bahrain is gearing up for elections on October 23, 2010. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Al Wefaq National Islamic Society holds a rally in Manama. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Al Wefaq is the largest Shi'ite political group in Bahrain, holding 17 out of 40 seats in the current assembly. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Wefaq is competing with Sunni Islamist groups and secular group Waad for parliament seats. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Critics say densely populated Shi'ite areas are not represented in parliament according to their share in Bahrain's 1.3 million population, Reuters reports. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Saturday's vote for the lower house will be the third in the Gulf Arab country since King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa launched reforms involving a new constitution and parliamentary elections a decade ago. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Among Gulf states, only Kuwait enjoys a relatively vibrant electoral process that can compare to Bahrain. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
In both countries, however, the ruling families can intervene: in Bahrain through the 40-seat upper house which is directly appointed by the king and can easily block bills. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
The government's main aim is to stop Wefaq gaining a majority of the 40 seats up for grabs, after the 17 it won in 2006. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Wefaq's main demand is for the lower house to enjoy greater powers than the upper house which has the main say over bills. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
The vote comes in the shadow of a security crackdown on Shi'ites in which 23 men, including some Shi'ite clerics, were arrested and accused of plotting to overturn the political system in a coup. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Polling day is usually peaceful, without the violence that mars voting in, say, Egypt, where supporters of opposition candidates are often denied access to polling stations. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
People gather for the Al Wefaq National Islamic Society rally in Manama. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Candidates are seen on stage at the rally. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Forty seats in the assembly are up for grabs in Saturday's election. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
A young supporter waves the Bahraini flag at the Al Wefaq rally. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
The build-up to the election has been marred by social unrest, as Bahrain’s Shi’a majority seeks to exert itself against the Sunni royal family. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Next week, 23 Shi’a opposition figures will go on trial – two in absentia – charged with terrorism offences and plotting to overthrow the regime. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, told Reuters that the current electoral process was fair. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
Gulf Daily News reported that parties had turned to video campaigning in a bid to persuade the electorate to turn out. (ITP Images)
Power to the people: election fever grips Bahrain
The Bahrain Transparency Society has issued a pre-election report which cited an increase in usage of social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter as blocs and candidates sought to get their message across. (ITP Images)