Muslim Brotherhood In Bahrain Expects To Win Seats In Parliamentary Elections


The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website has reported on the first round of Bahraini elections discussion the showing of what it identifies as the the Muslim Brotherhood of Bahrain. According to the report:

Bahrain’s first round of elections held on Saturday has resulted in Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group securing 18 out of 40 seats in the country’s parliamentary elections in what was described as elections marred by irregularities.This in turn has prompted the Muslim Brotherhood, Bahrain ’s Islamic Menbar, which had formally enjoyed immense parliamentary clout since 2002; launch a damage-control operation going into the second round of the parliamentary elections. The second leg of the parliamentary race is scheduled for October 30. The Menbar National Islamic Society, chaired by Dr. Salah Ali expected to win 8 seats in parliament due to its popularity. During previous parliamentary sessions the society had succeeded in proposing nearly 112 laws and 619 bills in addition to the formation of 12 investigating committees. It submitted approximately 650 questions to ministers in the current 2006-2010 sessions and formed 11 interim committees. The group has participated in the discussion of more than 40 of the total questions submitted to parliament during the last parliamentary session. Of the 619 bills however, the government only responded to 290.  The MB’s political arm has called on the people to vote for its 10 remaining candidates 5 contesting in the parliamentary election and another 5 in the municipal poll Advertisements in the local papers were posted. The group had formally been the third largest parliamentary bloc in the outgoing house acquiring seven out of the 40-seat legislature during the last elections. According to analysts this confidence of victory resulted in the group not renewing its 2006 alliance with Al Assala, the Salafi formation that had eight lawmakers in the House. The over confidence resulted in the group failing to win even a single seat where its three candidates lost in constituencies that have long been regarded as its bastions.Because of the densely populated Shiite districts which have up to 15,000 registered voters, as opposed to areas where only Sunni candidates are running, which have a much smaller number on the electoral roll the MB offshoot is up for a much tougher opponent than previously expected.

It is somewhat unusual for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to identify Brotherhood organizations in other countries by name.

A September UK media report on a campaign the the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain to ban alcohol in that country provides more information about Menbar:

The problem for absolute monarchies is that they do not create conditions in which civil society is able to flourish. In 2002, the results of the first parliamentary elections in Bahrain were ominous for secular politicians: the elected lower house was immediately dominated by Islamist parties and not a single woman candidate was elected. The same thing happened in 2006, when the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society took almost half of the 40 seats, although on that occasion one woman was successful. Among the most influential politicians in Bahrain is Dr Salah Ali, a former political exile who now chairs the Al-Menbar Islamic Society, a Sunni group which has seven seats in the lower house and is widely believed to have close links with the Muslim Brotherhood. Dr Ali is a smart politician who talks fluently about the importance of developing Bahrain’s democratic experiment “step by step”, and his party is expected to endorse female candidates in the elections due to take place this autumn. But to outsiders there are more intimations of the influence of political Islam in Bahrain than the government might like to admit. An MP from one of the Islamist parties flinched and refused to shake my hand, and there has been a ferocious campaign by Islamists in the lower house to ban alcohol in Bahrain. A leading light in the campaign is Mohammed Khalid, an outspoken MP from the Al-Menbar Society, who has made a name for himself as an opponent of anything he regards as un-Islamic. Mr Khalid embarrassed the government when he hailed terrorists fighting American forces in Iraq as “heroes”.

Previous posts have discussed the virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American statements of Dr. Salah Soltan, a former US Muslim Brotherhood leader now residing in Bahrain.

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