7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Five extra poll centres on way

ELECTION officials are considering setting up five extra polling centres, it emerged yesterday. The supreme committee said it had received requests from candidates and voters for more centres due to concerns of possible retaliation from those who boycotted the election.

"We have not finalised on any decision which has to be approved by the committee," said media panel head Moosa Al Khairi.

"But there are plans being reviewed to add five general polling centres to the existing ones."

The five general polling centres include Bahrain International Airport (Muharraq Governorate), King Fahad Causeway (Northern Governorate), Bahrain International Circuit (Southern Governorate), Bahrain City Centre (Capital Governorate) and the Education Ministry's hall in Isa Town (Central Governorate).

Mr Al Khairi said the five new general polling centres, once approved, were expected to complement the above ones.

This, Mr Al Khairi said, would take the number of general polling centres to 10 for the by-elections on September 24.

The main polling centres assigned in the four governorates are Al Ahd Zahed Secondary Girls School, Hamad Town, Al Wafa'a Secondary Girls School, Isa Town, the Religious Institute, Manama, and Al Dair Primary and Intermediate Girls School, Muharraq.

"There is lot of discussion about increasing the general polling centres," said Mr Al Khairi.

"We noticed that the social media is spreading poll boycott messages, which is a concern among candidates and voters."

Mr Al Khairi added security was an important aspect for the elections and police personnel would be deployed as a protocol outside polling stations.

However, Mr Al Khairi said that election rules stipulated that police could not enter a polling centre, unless authorised by the judge or the presiding officer there.

"Everything will be similar to previous elections in terms of preparations," said Mr Al Khairi.

He said that policemen frisking voters before they cast their ballots was not required at the moment.

The GDN reported yesterday that 10 candidates had allegedly been threatened via phone calls, text messages and letters for taking part in parliament elections.

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society registered the complaints and claimed some candidates pulled out of the race after being targeted.

Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission president Abdulla Al Buainain told a Press conference last month that it was the government's job to ensure security for everyone practising their political rights.

A total of 187,080 voters are eligible to cast their ballots to decide the fate of 74 candidates.

A second round of voting will be held on October 1 for any constituency with no clear winner.

Voting will also be held at the Bahraini embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions abroad on September 20 and in case of a re-vote on September 27.

The by-elections are taking place for 18 seats vacated by Al Wefaq members.

Resignation of 11 members was accepted in March.

MPs approved resignation of the remaining seven in May.

They were accused of stoking tension during anti-government protests and last month announced boycotting the by-elections. [email protected]

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