Bahrainis headed on Saturday to polling stations to choose their representatives in the parliamentary and municipal elections in their sixth legislative term to select candidates for 40 parliamentary and 30 municipal seats.
Polling began at 8:00 AM, amid security measures, hours after hackers targeted government websites.
“Websites are being targeted to hinder the elections and circulate negative messages in desperate attempts that won’t affect the determination of citizens who will go to the polling stations,” the Interior Ministry said.
More than 330 candidates, including 73 women, competed for the 40-seat parliamentary council, while 175 nominees, including 20 women, ran for 30 seats.
The number of eligible voters in all constituencies for the parliament reached 344,713, aged 20 and above.
As for the municipal elections, Gulf Cooperation Council citizens residing in Bahrain also have the right to cast their vote and non-residents who own real estate or land in the Kingdom.
Bahrainis abroad cast their ballots on Tuesday at 37 embassies and diplomatic missions.
A candidate must obtain 51 percent of the votes to win membership in the council of representatives, after which a run-off will be held after a few days if none of the candidates obtain this percentage.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission, Chancellor Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, the Executive Director of the 2022 parliamentary and municipal elections, praised the remarkable turnout of Bahraini voters since the opening of the polling centers.
In a statement to Bahrain News Agency (BNA), during his inspection of the electoral process at the polling centers at Seef Mall, he commended the citizens’ awareness and patriotism in dealing with all the negative messages and rumors aimed at disrupting the electoral process.
Hamza lauded the citizens’ insistence on participating massively in the elections to choose their representatives for the Council of Representatives and municipal ones.
Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Nawaf al-Maawda explained that voters’ lists of former elections are considered when establishing the new ones. He indicated that persons who did not participate in previous polls would not be included in current lists, according to the law.
Maawda, also the Chairman of the Higher Committee over the integrity of the elections, not that this led to the decline in voter numbers between 2018 and now.
A government spokesman explained that no one is being punished for abstaining from voting, adding that the elections had more candidates than ever.
Parliament is made up of the elected House of Representatives and the Shura Council, whose forty members are appointed by the king.
The National Assembly consists of the 40 elected members of the Council of Representatives and the 40 royally-appointed members of the Shura Council.
The legislative role is represented in enacting the laws necessary for the state and proposing, discussing, and approving regulations, and this role is equally shared by the House of Representatives and the Shura Council under the provisions of law.