News ID: 325322
Published: 0417 GMT November 12, 2022

‘Sham’ elections in Bahrain

‘Sham’ elections in Bahrain
AFP
A Bahraini man casts his ballot at a polling station in the city of Jidhafs, about 3km west of the capital Manama, during parliamentary elections, on November 12, 2022.

One of the leaders of opposition groups in Bahrain describes the parliamentary polls in the Persian Gulf Arab country as “sham” elections, believing that the Al Khalifa family has monopolized the power and does not eager to share it with its people.

"Rashed al-Rashed", one of the leaders of the Islamic Action Society in Bahrain, in an interview with "Iran Daily", reviewed the political situation in the country.

 

IRAN DAILY: Parliamentary elections were held yesterday in Bahrain. How do you describe the political situation in your country during the elections?

RASHED AL-RASHED: The elections were held while all the groups opposed to Al Khalifa's government did not participate in the elections, and Bahraini scholars, university professors and elites also boycotted the polls. Thus, we witnessed almost empty polling stations. It was because of the cold political atmosphere that even prompted some supporters of the Al Khalifa regime to propose postponement of the elections as it will reveal the political reality which governs the tiny island and will be a great dishonor for the Al Khalifa family.

Why the political groups have boycotted the elections?

Elections are boycotted because there is no democracy in the country. Human rights and political freedoms do not exist. Right now, 4,000 to 7,000 political activists with different political tendencies are in prisons. A large number of political critics are forced to live outside of Bahrain and cannot work inside the country. These groups are not involved in the country’s management and political power. The power is monopolized by the Al Khalifa family. For this reason, many political prisoners and elites abroad have sent messages and invited people to boycott the elections.

Do you believe that elections are not based on the principles of democracy and the rights and political freedom of opposition groups have not been recognized?

Yes. We did not participate in the elections because we do not trust the fairness of the elections. The Al Khalifa regime did not allow international observers or observers from opposition groups to monitor the election processes. All election processes are conducted by the government that the opposition groups have no confidence in.

Therefore, in our opinion, the elections are invalid because we know that the government gives fake statistics. This parliament does not represent people because they did not participate in the elections.

Are the political opponents seeking to remove the Al Khalifa regime from power or want to share power based on the principles of democracy?

The problem is that the power is monopolized by one family and it does not want to share it with people. We are looking for management based on the wisdom of the crowd, which means that people’s representatives with any tendency could participate in free elections. We are looking for a free Bahrain where people themselves decide for their future. Decisions should not be made by only one family for all people. These elections are just are done to justify the Al Khalifa regime, while there is no sign of free elections based on the principles of democracy.

Why do you think that Western countries claiming to advocate democracy and human rights are silent about the developments in Bahrain?

Because the government of Bahrain is an ally of Western countries, especially Britain and the U.S. International organizations and Western countries, led by the United States, have not taken any position that is in the interest of Bahraini people. They only support the non-democratic government of Al Khalifa. They also adopt the same behavior and double standards toward Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Revolution in Bahrain is a popular revolution. But Britain and the U.S., which have military bases in our country, only care about their own interests. Recently, the Israelis established a military base in our country without the consent of people.

Some analysts say Bahrain’s regime has adopted some policies to change the demographic composition of the population, such as giving citizenship to migrants and forcing Shias to leave the country. Are such claims true?

Yes, it is true and it is a matter of surprise for people of Bahrain and even neighboring countries that a regime to what extent acts against the interests of its own people. About 75% of the population of Bahrain are Shia, but the Al Khalifa regime brings migrants from other countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria to Bahrain and gives them citizenship. It even attracts the Baathist remnants from Iraq to change the country's demographic structure. This behavior and giving military bases to other countries and normalizing relations with the Israeli regime is a declaration of war to its people. Al Khalifa's minority government feels that it can stay in power by suffocating the political atmosphere, but people of Bahrain will continue their resistance because they do not believe in the legitimacy of Al Khalifa's regime.

 

   
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