Strong turnout for Bahrain poll

02 November 2002

More than 53 per cent of the kingdom's electorate voted on 24 October in the first round of parliamentary elections. The turnout was higher than expected following the boycott of the ballot called for by four leading Shia Muslim political groups, which were campaigning for equal power sharing between the elected and appointed chambers of the country's new bicameral parliament.

Of the 19 candidates that gained outright seats in the first round of voting, including three that gained uncontested constituencies, 11 were classed as Islamists. The remaining 21 seats available in the 40-member elected chamber of deputies were to be decided in the second round of voting, held on 31 October.

The next stage in the country's transition to democracy will be the appointment of the upper house by the King, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

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