Bahrain holds first elections since 2011; Shi'ites boycott

By REUTERS
November 23, 2014 04:11

MANAMA - Bahrainis voted on Saturday in the first parliamentary elections since 2011 when mostly Shi'ite protesters took to the streets demanding more democracy.

The elections were boycotted by the Shi'ite Muslim opposition over accusations that constituency changes would still favor the Sunni Muslim majority represented by the ruling family.

Bahrain has been shaken by low-level unrest since the February 2011 demonstrations. The country's Shi'ites have long complained of political and economic marginalization, an accusation the government denies.

The election is unlikely to resolve the political problems that have gripped the country.

The Shi'ite opposition maintains that the new parliament will not have enough power and that voting districts still favour Sunnis despite some recent electoral changes.

Some 419 candidates are running, 266 for parliament and 153 for municipal councils in the kingdom, where the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa family rules over a mainly Shi'ite population.


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