At stake in this election:
- 40 seats in Bahrain’s Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab)
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999)
- Head of Government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman al-Khalifa (since 1971)
- Assembly: Bahrain has a bicameral National Assembly (al-Jamiyh al-Watani) consisting of the Shura Council (Majlis Al-Shura) with 40 seats and the Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab) with 40 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- The King is hereditary
- The Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch.
- In the Shura Council (Majlis Al-Shura) 40 members are appointed by the monarch. In the Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab) 40 members are elected by absolute majority vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms.**
** A second, runoff round is held if no candidate receives and absolute majority in the first round.
On Saturday 22 November 2014, Bahrain will hold an election for the Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab). There has been ongoing demonstrations, protests, and violence, by the Shi’ite majority in the country since the Arab Spring began in 2011. The Sunni government has responded with raids and incarcerations of political leaders, journalists, and human rights activists. The main Shiite opposition political party, Al-Wefaq, has declared they will boycott the November election. However, the Bahraini government has suspended the groups’ activities for three months.[i]
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Party: Al-Wefaq *
- Leader: Ali SALMAN
- Party: Islamic (Al) Asalah
- Leader: Abd al-Halim MURAD
- Party: National Islamic Minbar
- Leader: Ali AHMAD
- Party: Independents
- Leader: N/A
* Al-Wefaq announced it was boycotting the November elections. The Bahraini government suspended the groups’ activities for 3 months.
- The last election to the Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab) in Bahrain was held on 23 October 2010.[ii] Turnout was 67 percent and 114,570 of 171,000 people casted ballots.[iii] The main opposition group, Al-Wefaq won 18 seats, while independent candidates won 17. The Sunni groups, Al-Asalah and Al-Menbar Islamic Society won 3 and 2 seats, respectively.[iv] Results can be found here.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Female Population: 517,508 (July 2014 est)[i]
- Is Bahrain a signatory to CEDAW: No.[ii]
- Has Bahrain ratified CEDAW: Yes (18 June 2002)[iii]
- Gender Quota: No.[iv]
- Female Candidates in this election: N/A
- Number of Female Legislators: 4 (10%) of 40 seats in the Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab); 11 (27.5%) of 40 seats in the Shura Council (Majlis Al-Shura).
- Human Development Index (HDI) Position: 44[v]
- Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Ranking: Not Ranked (latest rankings are from 2012)[vi]