High levels of voter participation ensure 2018 elections build on the success of previous elections

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Manama, Nov 24 (BNA): Bahraini voters turned out in large numbers to select their representatives at national and municipal level in polling on Saturday November 24.


The Preliminary rate of voter turnout has been announced at 67%, well above the 53% witnessed during the Kingdom’s last elections in 2014.


HE Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa, Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, revealing the participation figure after the close of polling, said: "The increased turnout builds on the success of the 2014 elections, and ensures a clear mandate for a parliament representing the diverse range of views in Bahraini society."


Bahrainis’ commitment to exercising their ballot was a clear indication of Bahrainis’ support for the process of democratisation, he added, and showed their rejection of external forces who have deliberately sought to derail the electoral process.


The 2018 elections have seen a record number of women candidates, with 39 women standing election to the House of representatives and 8 for municipal councils. 


The relative proportion of younger voters taking part in the elections also showed a significant increase, with more than 50,000 young men and women eligible to vote for the first time.


The close of polling stations at 8pm, following 12 hours’ voting, now sees the start of the count, 

which will continue overnight. 


In all, 430 candidates are standing for election – 293 for the House of Representatives, and 137 for municipal councils.


The polling – and the count – are being monitored by 231 observers from four civil society associations in addition to the National Institute for Human Rights. Full judicial supervision of all stages of the electoral process has guaranteed its integrity.


The Parliament has significant powers to hold the government to account. These include the right to approve the State Budget and the upcoming Government Action Plan.



MJ


BNA 1826 GMT 2018/11/24