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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Bahrain completes election for parliament and municipal councils

Government submits resignation as winners declared after runoff vote

Bahraini election officials count ballots after a runoff vote in parliamentary and municipal elections on December 1, 2018. AFP
Bahraini election officials count ballots after a runoff vote in parliamentary and municipal elections on December 1, 2018. AFP

Bahrain's cabinet tendered its resignation to King Hamad on Sunday after the kingdom successfully completed elections for a new parliament and municipal councils.

Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa announced his cabinet's resignation after Justice Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, who heads the Supreme Elections Committee, announced the final results, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

The kingdom held a runoff vote on Saturday for 31 parliamentary seats and 23 municipal seats that were not decided in the first round of voting on November 24.

Sheikh Khalid said the elections were notable for the greater participation of women and youth and increased voter scrutiny of the candidates. There were 41 women among the 293 candidates for the 40-seat Council of Representatives, and about 200 standing for council seats.

“Bahrain is living a new chapter in democratic development. The electoral process is moving beyond the stage of experience," the minister said in remarks reported by BNA.

Election authorities said about 67 per cent of the eligible voters took part in the parliamentary election and about 70 per cent in the municipal elections.

However, rights groups and activists have criticised the process after two main opposition groups - the Shiite majority Al Wefaq and the secular Waad movements - were barred from running by the courts.

Bahrain's new parliament and government will be installed at a crucial time for the island nation as it seeks to revive its stalling economy and attract foreign investment while dealing with concerted attempts by Iran to foment unrest.

Bahrain has held elections in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

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