BJDM Call for Postponing of Bahraini By-Election

25/08/11 BJDM Call for Postponing of Bahraini By-Election

The Bahrain Justice and Development Movements believe the forth coming by elections in Bahrain must be postponed, as they will not legitimately represent the will of the people.

The September by-election is due to replace the 18 MP’s that resigned in February in protest at the treatment of pro-democracy demonstrators.

All 18 previous MP’s came from Bahrain’s largest opposition party, Al Wefaq, who along with other opposition groups have boycotted the by-election.

The lack of any real opposition is just one of many reasons why the poll cannot take place at this time.

Primarily, the Bahrain Government is trying very hard to portray the country as having ‘returned to normal’ following the state of emergency that was their response to the mass protests of February and March.

This is simply not the case. Hundreds of political prisoners still languish in jails, whilst there has been no justice for those injured and killed by Security Forces. An election cannot take place amidst this backdrop, with so many potential opposition voters having their suffrage removed.

Furthermore, the recent national dialogue did nothing to address the very serious problems that Bahrain has with its electoral process. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for democratic change is the unfair distribution of voting constituencies. Despite opposition candidates winning the more than half of the overall votes, they still always find themselves in a minority in parliament.

We believe that before an election can take place, the field must be levelled. All political prisoners must be released from prison and serious democratic reforms have to be made.

Until this point any election will be considered illegitimate. We reject this sham democracy and instead demand the basic democratic rights that the people of Bahrain have been demanding for years.

Ali Al Aswad, a former MP who resigned in February and whose seat is being replaced, said:

“Not re-contesting my seat was a very difficult decision for me, but one which was made out of principle. We simply cannot endorse this mock election and we ask that it be postponed until basic democratic conditions are met.”

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