Bahrain to hold first election since 2011 protests

Bahrain to hold first election since 2011 protests

Bahrain will hold its first parliament election on Saturday since a failed protest in 2011 against the Sunni monarchy, but the Shiite opposition is calling for boycotting the vote, Xinhua reported according to the local media said.

About 400,000 eligible Bahraini voters are expected to cast their ballots at 53 polling stations across the country to select parliamentary and municipal seats among 419 candidates from 40 constituencies.

"The elections executive committee has completed all preparations at the polling centers to receive the voters and monitors, under the supervision of no less than 56 judges and 300 monitors from eight non-governmental organizations," the Bahrain News Agency reported on Friday.

Some 300 local journalists and about 100 foreign media staff are to cover the elections, according to the Ministry of State Information Affairs.

The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs on Friday urged all Bahrainis to exercise their constitutional right and take part in the elections to choose their parliamentary and municipal representatives.

However, opposition groups, headed by the Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, are boycotting the polling, saying that the Shiite majority is discriminated by the monarchy and that the parliament is subject to the king's wishes and lacks any real powers.

Protests by radical groups against the electoral process are expected in some areas, but the authorities said security plans are in place to deal with any such attempt.

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