Bahrain king calls elections for October 23



MANAMA- Bahrain's King Hamad on Sunday called parliamentary and municipal elections for October 23, the state news agency BNA reported.
The king, who chaired a cabinet meeting attended by Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa and Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, urged voters to turn out in large numbers for the polls.



Bahrain's King Hamad
Bahrain's King Hamad
"Decision-making and participating (in the vote) ensures the continuity of the democratic process in the kingdom and enhances the serious work for offering better services for the citizens," BNA cited him as saying.
The legislative elections will be the first in the Gulf archipelago since November 2006.
That poll was won by Sunnis, but the Shiite-led opposition scored control of more than 40 percent of seats in parliament, which however has to share its powers with an upper chamber appointed by the king.
The arrangement prompted a boycott of 2002 polls, the first after parliament was scrapped in 1975. Some of Bahrain's opposition kept up the boycott because demands for constitutional changes were not met.
In January 2009, clashes broke out at a Bahraini village between security forces and demonstrators protesting the detention of a Shiite activist.
Shiite-majority Bahrain was plagued in the 1990s by a wave of Shiite-led unrest, which has abated since the authorities launched steps to convert the Gulf emirate into a constitutional monarchy.
A liberal country by conservative Gulf standards, Sunni-led Bahrain is the region's leading banking centre. Unlike other Arab states in the Gulf, it does not export crude oil, only refined products from mainly Saudi crude.
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Sunday, August 8th 2010
AFP
           


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