Bahrain Election Proves the People are not with the Government

Last weekends by-election in which just 17.4% of voters turned out is the clearest signal yet that the people of Bahrain are not with the Government.

The election was to replace the 18 opposition MP’s who resigned in February and The Government had hoped that it would draw a line under the recent pro-democracy protests.

But with just 25,000 of the 144,000 eligible voters taking to the polls it proves that The Government is still a very long way from appeasing the people.

In February the 18 MP’s from the largest opposition party, Al Wefaq, withdrew from Parliament and the party subsequently called for a boycott for the by-election.

Immediately after the poll The Government bizarrely claimed that some 51% had voted, although they later admitted that the real figure was far less.

Truthfully, far more people were out protesting against the Government rather than heading towards the ballot boxes on a weekend that saw a return to the mass democracy protests that have swept the country since February.

More than 80% of Bahraini’s were able to see through the Government propaganda and rejected what was an illegitimate election.

The opposition had taken part in the previous election a year ago in which at least 67% of people turned out to vote. This contrasts sharply with this year’s election and shows that without credible candidates the people are simply not interested.

The reality of this rejection is deeper than just the lack of enthusiasm about electoral politics in Bahrain. It proves that a massive majority of people rejects the Government as a whole and confirms that they do not represent the will of the people.

If the immense protests that have taken place over the last few months does not convince The Government, they can surely not ignore this clearest of indicators that they are not wanted.

We call for the immediate dissolution of parliament and for new elections to take place once the voting system has been reformed to fairly represent the population in the ground.

Furthermore a new dialogue must be created immediately which actively listens to the qualms of the people and takes seriously the need for reform.

Until this happens, the people will continue to reject The Government, both on the streets and at the ballot box.

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