Bahrain election overshadowed by opposition boycott

Bahrain went to the polls Saturday for its first legislative elections since a failed pro-democracy uprising in 2011, with the opposition boycotting the vote in the tiny Gulf monarchy. The key U.S. ally remains divided nearly four years after security forces in the Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom crushed Arab Spring-inspired protests led by majority Shiites. Bahrain’s electorate of almost 350,000 is being called to choose 40 deputies. Most of the 266 candidates are Sunnis in a vote denounced by critics as a “farce”.

This election will help the development of the country under the leadership of the king.

Naima El-Heddi, a civil servant in her 30s

Bahrain’s Justice Ministry said turnout for parliamentary elections was 51.5 percent while that for the municipal elections was 53.7 percent. No date for the results has been announced yet. Al-Wefaq, the main opposition group, warned on the eve of the vote that failure by the kingdom’s rulers to ease their “monopoly” on power could trigger a surge in violence. Clashes between young demonstrators and security forces erupted in Shiite villages outside the capital Manama ahead of the polls, according to witnesses. Plumes of smoke were seen rising from blazing tyres placed in the streets of several districts.

The elections have no meaning.

Yassin, an unemployed 35-year-old