Tag Archives elections

Election fraud?

I got this through an email. I do not know the source, nor the authenticity of this clip, but I am sharing it with you here to give the chance for refuting what it actually shows. I hope that the authorities take it with extreme seriousness.

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Giants and minnows, onwards to the next round

The second round of voting is due on Dec 2nd when the hopes and chances of the remaining few will elevated, while others will start the process of licking their wounds and hope to live for another election. The vast majority will probably feel like expended forces and they might do the honourable thing by stepping aside for someone else to take up the forthcoming battles in four years’ time.

But it’s a bit too early to think of that, now is the time to tighten the belts, roll up the sleeves and get down and dirty to ensure that the remaining few good people actually gather the required votes to enter parliament victorious and take their seats to serve the people of this country. As most of those left are of the liberal persuasion, they are sorely needed to provide a balance to a chamber that looks a distinct bastard born of Saudi and Iran, at least in personal appearances if not in fact (we hope!)

To me, it doesn’t take too much to select any of the remaining prospective MPs, in fact, I already told you – more or less – of what the ideal make-up of parliament would be based on the current offering. Let me further clarify now in all the remaining districts in which liberals are fighting for the honour of representing us, simple opportunistic climbers are also making a go for it whilst spending what would have housed, fed, and educated quite a number of families… yet that is furthest from the opportunist’s minds, of course.

Abdulhakim Al-Shimmery - 2006 parliamentary candidateSteps have been taken a few years ago when some people fixed their minds on a seat in parliament; so much so, they probably already ordered and received one of those gawky name-plates tooled with a long-dead elephant’s tooth chips to shape their hallowed names. One such step is to get elected to the Chamber of Commerce, which has become a launch pad at least for the experience in commercial electioneering, add to that the sponsorship of a few mundane and lackluster sporting events for neighbourhoods the requirement of which is to emblazon a name boldly on a banner which is worth more than what has been expended to mount such tournaments, including the provision of sports kits already embroidered with their benefactor’s name.

Oh, and just to cover the bases, why not go for the environment and create a scheme to plant a few hundred trees completely paid for by big business and if you are lucky enough to get that press release into a national paper, then use its name too as one of your supporters. Little did this climber think of the day where he will actually be challenged by such paper which shamefully demanded the removal of their name from the plethora of billboards that candidate erected all around the country.

Is this enough to guarantee a place in parliament though? Probably not, but with the expenditure of a few more bags of cash, the origins of which are suspect, you are at least assured of getting through to the second phase. And what victory would that be when run against a national hero in a country where the subservience to even improperly placed avid religious instructions are followed for fear of eternal hellfire and ostracisation awaits all those who force some friction between brain cells, or even worse, when the expenditure of cash would ensure even a faster route to nirvana.

Enter Mr. Abdulhakim Al-Shimmary, of “those cartoons‘” fame, whom some call by his “original” name before acquiring the designer sounding one he now sports: bin Jaafar, who has gone through the steps to achieve a run off against one of the country’s tireless opposition and liberal figures: Mr. Abdulaziz Abul. The temerity of bin Jaafar is actually astounding; he came out from the voting centre last night arms high, victorious, thinks he, even before the final count… does bin Jaafar actually know things that we don’t?

Abdulaziz Abul - 2006 parliamentary candidate, opposition figure, liberal

فما أن أغلق باب مركز التصويت في مدرسة حليمة السعدية الإعدادية للبنات في السقية، حتى خرج الشمري من الباب رافعاً يديه في علامة للنصر، وسط هتافات عالية وقوية لمؤيديه، رد عليها مباشرة مؤيدو المترشح عزيز أبل بقوة. واستمر تبادل الهتافات القوية والاستفزازية والتصفيق الحاد نحو عشرين دقيقة، أخذت الهتافات بعدها بعداً جارحاً، بعد أن رفع كلا الطرفين صور مرشحيها وأعلامها وشعارات

Al-Wasat :: 26 Nov, ’06

Abdulhakim, how can you even start to compare yourself with giants like Abul, when all you are really is nothing more than a minnow, an opportunistic nobody whom history has already forgotten?

Would you do the honourable thing and make way for a real gentleman to come through?

I somehow, doubt it. But if people know what’s good for them, if they just look a little beyond end ends of their noses and your “incentives”, you will not be needed to do that. People will just continue to pass you by, as they will continue to do so regardless of this outcome, completely unnoticed.

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Interference?

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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Results are in

From the liberals points of view, it’s good news. At least all of the Wa’ad candidates have gone into a run-off with an opponent, so there is a good chance for a few of them to actually reach parliament, now that the vote is concentrated just between two people.

The liberals now have to work extra hard to convince people that they are the right choice.

According to Al-Waqt newspaper, and Al-Wefaq’s site, 15 out of the 17 Wefaq candidates won from the first round, with just one candidate going into run-off. This is a big (expected) win for Al-Wefaq, so congratulations are in order.

This table is a work in progress until all candidates and other information are filled in, use with caution.
Please let me know should you find any errors or omissions.

Turnout was a massive 72%!

Last updated on 26 Nov, ’06 at 1909 local

Constituency Candidate Votes Affiliation
Northern 1 Shaikh Ali Salman 83.73% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Northern 2 Second Round: Maki Al-Weda’i (45.41%)
against Mirza Ahmed (29.29%)
Northern 3 Abdulhussain Al-Mitghawwi 81.70% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Northern 4 Second Round: Abdulaziz Al-Moosa (29.2%)
against Hassan Al- Dossari (41.87%)
Northern 5 Mohammed Jameel Al-Jamri 79.93% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Northern 6 Mohammed Khalid 53.79% Al-Minbar Islamic Society
Northern 7 Dr. Jassim Hussain 65.28% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Northern 8 Jawad Fairooz 57.44% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Northern 9 Shaikh Hassan Sultan
ran against ex-MP Jassim Abdulaal
78% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Central 1 Jalal Fairooz 73.51% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Central 2 Sayyid Abdulla Al-A’ali 76.07% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Central 3 Second Round: Mahdi Abudib (29.71%)
against Ibrahim Al-Hadi (45.60%)
Central 4 Salah Ali 53.39% Al-Minbar Islamic Society
Central 5 Dr. Abd-Ali Mohammed 62.31% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Central 6 Sayyid Haidar Al-Sitri 91.78% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Central 7 Abdulhalim Murad 51%
Central 8 Dr. Abdullatif Al-Shaikh 56.40% Al-Minbar Islamic Society
Central 9 Khalifa Al-Dhahrani
ex-Speaker
70.74% Independent with strong leanings to Asala/Minbar
Muharraq 1 Adel Al-Mo’awdah 63.48% Asala Islamic Society
Muharraq 2 Second Round: Ibrahim Busandal
against Salah Al-Jawdar
Muharraq 3 Ali Ahmed 55.59% Al-Minbar Islamic Society
Muharraq 4 Second Round: Abdulrahman Al-No’aimi
against Isa Abulfath
Muharraq 5 Second Round: Sami Qambar
against Salah Al-Jalahma
Muharraq 6 Shaikh Hamza Al-Dairi 90.28% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Muharraq 7 Second Round: Sami Siyadi
against Nasser Al-Fadhalah
Muharraq 8 Ghanim Al-Bu’ainain (returning) 66.51% Asala Islamic Society
Capital 1 Adel Al-Assoumi 68.62%
Capital 2 Khalil Al-Marzooq 54.616% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Capital 3 Shaikh Jassim Al-Mo’min 58.25% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Capital 4 Abduljalil Khalil 89.26% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Capital 5 Mohammed Al-Moz’il 53.95% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Capital 6 Second Round: Ibrahim Sharif
against Abdulrahman Bumajeed
Capital 7 Second Round: Abdulaziz Abul (43.8%)
against Abdulhakim Al-Shimmary (30.71%)
Capital 8 Sayyid Jamil Kadhem 71% Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Southern 1 Jassim Al-Saidi (returning) 70.89% Independent Salafi
Southern 2 Second Round: Hamad Al-Muhannadi
against Abdulla Huwail
53.82%
Southern 3 Second Round: Sami Al-Buhairy (40.31%)
against Abdulhafith Mohammed (21.47%)
Southern 4 Abdulla Al-Dossary 62.90
Southern 5 Second Round: Khamis Al-Rumaihi (44.73%)
against Sanad Al-Fadhalah (25.54%)
Southern 6 Latifa Al-Gaoud (unopposed) Independent

Source: Bahrain News Agency and NDAS.

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Vote counting started

vote counting in Ahmed Al-Umran school

The votes counting operation appears to have begun in several centres. This shot is off the installed webcams in Ahmed Al-Umran school. For seeing the physical counting operation live in various centres, please click here.

Results will be announced on the official elections website at Vote4Bahrain.com, which, incidentally, is running Xaraya!

This is the second time that Bahrain depends on open source CMS for the elections website, the first was based on PostNuke, this one is based on Xaraya, both of which are the brainchildren of my friend John Cox and a collection of about 40 programmers from around the world, and once again, I am proud to have been associated with both projects.

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Duty done

Frances came and picked me up and we drove to the polling station in our neighbourhood to cast my vote. The ample car parking made the process of reaching the venue easy; even considering the muck left over after the rains earlier in the day.

We negotiated the path from the car park to inside the school where polling was taking place, walked into the hall and then almost immediately to the checkpoint where they scanned the barcode off my CPR card, made sure that my name is on the electoral list and handed me the two polling papers; one for the municipal and the second for parliamentary elections.

The electoral papers had clear pictures of the candidates with large check boxes and candidate’s names each in an individual block which is amply separated from other candidates’. This reduced the chances of selecting the wrong box.

I went to one of the many non-curtained booths and made my selection, watched from a dais by the judges and other officials, then I walked to the ballot boxes and deposited the papers in their appropriate box and walked out.

The whole process from leaving home until coming back again did not take more than 20 minutes!

This is a big credit to the organisers. The whole process was easy, clear and very fast.

From what I saw there was no chance that one could tinker with ballots or boxes because of the open and transparent way the event and the hall were structured. There were quite a number of people milling about outside the school which made it a bit difficult to negotiate a path with a walking stick, but there wasn’t much pushing and shoving. I would have liked for people to move on, but I guess everybody is excited and wanted to be there for the count, which is only a couple of hours away. But apart from that, the whole process was very well organised and I couldn’t really complain, nor would anyone else I would think.

Well done organisers, and good luck to all candidates.

I hope we won’t have to countdown the days for the next elections just to rid ourselves from another impotent and sectarian parliament!

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It’s D-Day

Face-painted childToday – Nov 25th, 2006 – Bahrainis of all walks of life head to cast their ballot in Parliamentary and Municipal polls to elect those who they feel is worthy of representing them for the next four years, with runoffs scheduled for Dec 2nd.

The elections this time around are vastly different from 2002 as this time all but one political society have decided to participate, and as those societies contesting are the largest in Bahrain and their programs and agendas are non-sectarian, well thought out and achievable, we can rest assured that the new parliament when it is finally declared by Dec 3rd will be much more representative of the people and it will elevate the quality of life of Bahrainis and residents alike.

My optimism is further strengthened by the number of liberals contesting the polls with good chances of winning, if the numbers of people turning up at their campaigns headquarters is anything to go by.

The Islamists, I feel, are on a losing streak. Apart from the fact that Bahrainis are generally unhappy with their performance in the last parliament, Islamists ran the dirtiest campaigns ever known here; they have been accused of offering bribes, maligning their competitors, spreading malicious rumours, and generally involving themselves in everything against the teachings of Islam, which they have sworn to protect!

I firmly believe that nationalist heros like Abdulrahman Al-Noaimi, Ibrahim Sharif, Munira Fakhro, Sami Siadi, Ali Saleh, Ebrahim Kamaleddin of Wa’ad, and Ali Al-Ayoubi and the rest of his Unity coalition will be champions of personal freedoms, freedom of speech, human and women’s rights, all of which were suppressed in the previous parliament, thanks to mainly those forces of darkness, the misguided Islamists, 19 of whom have been inducted into the Hall of Shame, thanks to the research conducted by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

I really hope and pray for a better Bahrain for all Bahrainis, and hope that the new parliament will be the nucleus of change for the better, one that will put paid to the dangerous sectarian rifts in this country, and one that will work to make us proud, once again, to be Bahraini.

Good luck Bahrain. I wish you all the best.

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‘Bahrain is Trust’

I was in the garden earlier when I heard the distinct sound of a microlight! I thought my ears were deceiving me until I looked up and sure enough there was one microlight dragging a banner which said “Al-Bahrain Amana” (which loosely translates to Bahrain is your trust, so don’t squander the opportunity to do your duty and vote – yes, Arabic is a rather beautiful language which is brief!).

All I had with my unfortunately is my mobile phone through which I took the following picture, which also shows the side section of the garden with the Cassia (scrambled egg tree) in full bloom.

Al-Bahrain Amana - microlight with a banner for the elections
click the picture for the larger version

Have a wonderful Friday my friends.

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Blonde moments in the Bahraini Elections

Ahdeya Ahmed, official spokesperson for the Bahraini 2006 electionsSometimes, they say, silence is golden. They also say that it is better to keep people thinking that you’re stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt, alas people do like to hear themselves talk.

This is the case with an airhead who have found herself probably by pure coincidence as the “official spokesperson” for the 2006 Bahraini elections.

First, this (somewhat) pretty lady released a humungous cerebral waste (being in polite company, I’ll borrow Mark’s definition here) by threatening anyone calling the Bahraini elections, judges, procedures, etc into question with being presented to the public prosecutor. Thankfully the local press found a bit of their backbone and took her to task.

Yesterday, she came out with this humdinger:

من جانبها نفت المتحدثة الرسمية للانتخابات عهدية أحمد وجود الطائفية في البحرين، وقالت: »المواطن البحريني لا يصوت لطائفة ضد طائفة اخرى، والطائفية موضوع غير مطروح أساسًا، ونحن المواطنين في البحرين من السنة والشيعة لا توجد مشاكل فيما بيننا أبدا«

Al-Wasat :: 23 Nov, ’06

The pretty lady denies that we have any sectarianism in Bahrain at all and that the Bahraini citizen does not vote for a sect against another, and that the sectarian issue is not on the table at all and that we Bahraini citizens Sunna and Shi’a do not have a problem between us at all.

Aha! Now I get it. Ms. Ahdeya Ahmed must hail from the outer reaches of Mars as I know that her little brain must have been indoctrinated there and in it was injected that latest brainfart of hers above.

Bless your heart sister; for God’s sake don’t get that “position” to get to your head… the translation of “official spokesperson” is no other than “mouth piece”, but in your case, unfortunately, they forgot to specify the required brain power to control that orifice.

I for one am extremely happy that come December 2nd, you’re out of a job.

Hopefully next time they’ll select someone who can more than string a couple of sentences in flawed nasal English to be their “official spokesperson.” Or at least someone with a couple of brain cells to rub against each other and give the audience at least the benefit of the doubt that some of us actually do enjoy those cell frictions.

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New novel method of electioneering pioneered by candidate

I bet you have all heard of the various ways candidates resort to in order to get their names and mugshots noticed; as anywhere else in the world, parliamentary and municipal candidates in Bahrain also offer bribes, buy votes, give gifts, refurnish houses and apartments, activate whatever wasta (influence) they have to ensure that their “customers” get their names pushed up the priority list for housing and other benefits if they can, and/or simply offer copious and unending supply of food at their electioneering headquarters. That last method is actually quite hilarious when you see people (and I am told most of those are non-voters, being Indian labourers etc) pushing and shoving others aside to get to the head of the serving queue at the end of the guys interminable speeches.

Where things differ in Bahrain, are two new methods, one pioneered specifically by the Salafis I think, in that they have leant from their compatriots’ Shi’a and their ma’atems experiences, is to sponsor and bring out preachers – some well known from – wait for it, wait for it – that land of tolerance, the land of the benign smile, and miswak: Saudi Arabia, where they spread their poison and stress to those attending (not sure if they are supporters or they’re actually just there for the food) that they should vote exclusively for their patron, and at the same time spread their poison against any and all opponents, especially if the opponent is a woman or worse, a Shi’a candidate!

Adel Al-Assoumi, vice principalAnother very new and a most novel method is the creation of your very own vice posse to go around the flats and houses in your neighbourhoods catching prostitutes (arabic) (or who they believe are prostitutes) and take them to the police, under the guise of “cleaning” their areas of sin. This new method is pioneered by a Adel Al-Assoumi who is running for the first constituency of the capital covering Gudhaiybia and Hoora, with the full support and knowledge of clerics who have lauded his efforts in their Friday sermons, and even composed short text support messages which were transmitted to mobile phones.

Now there you have it! I must commend the people of Hoora and Gudhaiybia for such an honest, dutiful, straight and vigilante candidate. The “good” thing is that he says that regardless of his chances in the elections, he will continue with his posse even they are done and dusted. And what does the Ministry of Interior’s – the protector who never sleeps so that we can – comment about people taking the law into their own hands as they clearly allegedly are in this case?

رفض مدير الإعلام الأمني في وزارة الداخلية الرائد محمد بن دينة، أية تصريحات في هذا الشأن يمكن استغلالها للاستهلاك الإعلامي والحملات الانتخابية، وقال إن وزارة الداخلية تشجع المواطنين والمقيمين على التقدم بالبلاغات لما يرونه خروجاً عن القانون، وأن ليس هناك ما يمكن أن يطلق عليه <>حملة شعبية>> في شأن من شؤون واختصاصات وزارة الداخلية ومن صلب عملها، إذ أن دور المواطن والمقيم ينتهي عند التقدم بالبلاغ، وأي إجراء تقوم أجهزة وزارة الداخلية يتم بعد ذلك وفق إجراءاتها وتحت مسؤوليتها القانونية، مؤكداً أن ترؤس أياً كان لحملات من هذا النوع سيكون خارج اختصاصه ودوره الذي تقوم به الوزارة المعنية.

Al-Waqt :: 19 Nov, ’06

They’re encouraging people to continue to lodge complaints, blow whistles and point fingers, but not to take any further action as that is their sole domain.

Fair enough, that makes for a safer society, but what will the Ministry do to Adel’s Posse? Will they disband it, slap him on the wrist, or take him to court for clearly breaching several laws (and not forgetting those preachers who should also be slapped and told – once again – not to interfere in the elections?

No idea, but I’m not holding my breath.

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