Women voted into Bahrain's parliament for first time


Independents have won most seats in Bahrain’s parliament after a two-round election that the opposition boycotted, according to official results released on Sunday.

The first round was held on 24 November, and the second on Saturday. Independents have won 34 of the 40 seats in the Gulf monarchy’s legislature. The six other seats have gone to candidates with political affiliations, a breakdown of the results showed.

The results have reshaped the legislature: 37 of the lawmakers will serve in the assembly for the first time. Six of the incoming lawmakers are women – a first for Bahrain. Political parties doubled their presence from three to six lawmakers in the new parliament, but a closer look revealed a major shake-up in the composition of the seats.

The Islamic Tribune Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, lost its only seat, while Al-Salah Party, an ultra-conservative Salafist group, won an additional seat, bringing its total to three.

The Democratic Tribune, a communist party, secured two seats, and the National Unity Gathering, a nationalist party, claimed one seat for the first time since it was set up in 2011.  

The election was Bahrain's second since pro-reform protests inspired by the Arab Spring revolts erupted in the country in 2011.

In June, the outgoing legislature passed a contested bill on political rights, a step the opposition said was aimed at barring leaders and members of dissolved political parties from running in the vote.    (dpa)

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