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Shia opposition makes gains in Bahrain elections

media Election officials seal polling boxes at the end of voting in the capital … Reuters

Bahrain's main opposition party is celebrating after making gains in a parliamentary election.  The Shia-Muslim-based Islamic National Accord Association won 18 of 40 seats according to the country’s electoral commission.

The MPs were elected in the first round of voting, with a second round for a further nine seats due at the end of the month. The results mean the party has strengthened its presence in the lower house of parliament.

Abdul-nabi Al Ekry from Bahrain Human Rights Society 24/10/2010 - by Stuart Norval Listen

"Hundreds were not eligible to vote because their names did not come on to the computer. In the same family some voted and others did not because their names were not in the system, and this was not remedied", according to Abdul-nabi Al Ekry from the Bahrain Human Rights Society.

"Also campaigning continued, influencing votes at the doors of the polling station".

However most human rights experts say they're relatively pleased with the way the election was handled.

The lower house has the authority to examine and pass legislation proposed by the king or cabinet, although the upper chamber has the power to block its legislation.

Before the polls there were warnings from human rights watchdogs after a wave of arrests of Shia political activists. The country’s foreign minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa has said the arrests were “not linked” to the elections.


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