Interference?

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في ثالثة الشمالية
ناخبة تطلب إبراء الذمة من مترشح «الوفاق»

فاضل عنان:
طلبت إحدى الناخبات براءة الذمة من مترشح الوفاق في ثالثة الشمالية عبدالحسين المتغوي، بدعوى أنها ‘’لم تستطع الإدلاء بصوتها لصالحه بعد أن منعها قاضي اللجنة من ذلك’’، وفق ما قالت. وكانت إحدى النساء من قرية الدراز توجهت إلى المركز الانتخابي في الصباح الباكر مصطحبة معها البطاقة السكانية للتصويت للمترشح المذكور، من دون أن يكون معها جواز السفر ، وعندما سألها قاضي المركز عن الجواز، أجابت أن ‘’زوجها حجزه، لأنه لا يريد لها أن تذهب للتصويت لأنه من المقاطعين وهي تريد الإدلاء بصوتها لأنها سمعت أن الشيخ عيسى قاسم يقول بأهمية التصويت وعدم التلكؤ في أداء الواجب الوطني’’.
من جهته، قال المترشح المتغوي للمرأة ‘’أنت مبرية الذمة ومجيئك إلى هذا المكان محل تقدير واحترام من الجميع’’. يشار إلى أنه لوحظ مجيء كثير من العجائز وكبار السن في هذه الدائرة للتصويت لمترشحي الوفاق النيابي والبلدي للمجلس، وكانوا يردون على قاضي اللجنة عندما يسألهم عن مترشحهم ‘’نريد المتغوي وصاحبه’’، من دون معرفتهم لصاحبه (عبدالغني خليل).

Al-Waqt :: 26 Nov, ’06

The gist of this story is that a woman defied her husband who was boycotting the elections and demanded that she does so as well. However, due to direct orders by Shaikh Isa Qassim, who heads of the powerful Scholars Council, for people to go and do their religious and national duty by voting for what he called the “faithful’s list” – alluding to Al-Wefaq Islamic Society’s list and barring all others, who he might deem unfaithful; hence, heretics? – she did not want to shirk her religious responsibilities.

She took her identification card, the CPR, and went to the polling station where the judge refused to allow her to cast her ballot as she did not have her passport with her, which is mandatory (they stamp it once your vote is cast, the premise is to stop people from voting multiple times.) That put the lady in a quandary as she felt that as she was barred from performing her religious duty, she now owes Allah that task, unless of course the person who she was told to vote for excused her her failing. The now elected MP, Mr. Abdulhussain Al-Mitghawwi who was elected with a massive 82% of the vote, fully understood her predicament and absolved her from that responsibility which she was very thankful for. Now her religious conscience is appeased.

It doesn’t stop there; though, the news article also states that quite a number of women and old people took the time to go and cast their ballot directly due to the “encouragement” of the clerics. Some of those people were even illiterate but still they approached the judge in the same voting centre and told him to select for them “Al-Mitghawwi and his friend”. They too must have felt finally absolved from that religious duty once their ballot was cast.

Sadly, instances as these abound throughout the country; we have heard of religious imams and scholars from both main sects calling liberals heretics, forcefully encouraging people to not vote for women (as they are not worthy of this position as Allah has reserved such task to men exclusively) and others going all out and labeling competing (secular and liberal) candidates complete heretics and should anyone vote for them then the gates of hell will open to welcome him in the hereafter. That, and the various allegations of vote buying and bribes offered mostly (if not exclusively) by Islamists.

Now my question: are these influences not counted as direct interference in the elections? Can we still call our elections “free and fair”? Is it a wonder then when we find that not a single woman or liberal has won from the first round, and is it a wonder to find that some people have gained up to 90% of the vote!

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6 Comments
  • Redbelt
    26 November 2006

    Ah
    but is any election “free & fair”?

  • Ehsan
    26 November 2006

    How do we define “free and fair”? If it means that every person can vote for whoever they want, then we have achieved that.

    The main benefit of democracy is also its weakness. Democracy is representatives of majority rule. If you have a weak majority, you will have a weak representation.

    In our case, the people got what they wanted, even if they don’t know what’s good for them. You can blame it on upbringing, education, or brainwashing, but that doesn’t matter. These are the people of Bahrain and we need at least two more generations to come and go until the majority are liberally educated.

    It gets worse when you consider the fact that even the MPs are blind followers. Al-Wefaq had access to some of the most educated and experienced people, yet they chose their candidates based on allegiance to Shaikh Isa Qassim. A small example of this is Abdulnabi Salman, who was approached by Al-Wefaq to be their representative, but he refused because he would have to follow the central authority. Look where that got him, despite being acknowledged as the stronger candidate, by far.

    Hopefully, there will be some balance after the second round. I personally refuse any extreme, be it left or right, and things are looking a bit extreme with the current list of winners. At least 5 more liberals are needed to balance things out, and make sure we don’t have someone sitting at the top passing out Mandatory Hejab laws.

    So to go back to your question, yes, our elections are free and free. The influences are not direct interference with the election because they are not technically forcing anyone to vote, but playing on deep rooted personal beliefs of people.

    Democracy has won, the people have spoken, but unfortunately for us that victory has only shown us how unready for it we are. Are we still better off than having no elections at all? Of course we are. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next four years.

  • AJJ
    26 November 2006

    The people get what they deserve this time but…

    I can’t imagine any parliament who votes to stop Bahraini girls getting car loans, learning to drive or wearing embroidery on their hijabs getting elected more than once.

    There are more women in this country than men and they have the lions share of the brain cells and work ethic. So in couple of years you can kiss the Bahrain Talibani’s goodbye . . . . .

  • Hajji Hmagi
    26 November 2006

    The saying “manlahu heelatun falyahtal” runs against “algayah tubarriral waseelah”. The first translates as: “it is fair to use fair means”; the 2nd: “the ends justify the means”.

    Can we say that both sides (the government and clerics) employed techniques inspired by the latter one of the above two sayings. One employed public money and appointed a master to spearhead the infamous “port” gate, in fear that the odds of the nubmers are against them; the other employed unfair clout.

    The byproduct of both factors has stripped the long awaited domocratic process of all its potence, and has rendered it either as sham or some form that is akin to a ship that is adrift.

    Now that the government has seen the bastard results of both ways of tending, I call upon it to come up with a good election law, and just run a proper democracy for a change.

    I would even predict that the next Parliament would not finish its term, and it would be dismissed within twelve months or by 31/12/2007. The new, fair election law had better be in place before that time.

    Well done CIB!

  • Loki
    30 November 2006

    Perquisites of democracy:

    1 – Freedom of expression
    2 – A large middle class
    3 – Education
    4 – Transparency

    How many ticks do we have in the box.

  • mahmood
    30 November 2006

    damn. put like that it makes things very pessimistic.

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