SHAFAQNA- The Council of Representatives in Bahrain has decided to exclude three people with dual Bahraini and Saudi citizenship from running for seats on the body in the forthcoming elections. The 40-member council is the lower house of the Bahraini Parliament and the main legislative body.
The elections take place on Nov. 22. The body reportedly said recently that the three people who were rejected first had Saudi citizenship and then later acquired their Bahraini citizenship, which disqualifies them from standing as candidates under provisions of the country’s constitution. These provisions apply to all people who have citizenship of other foreign states, it said. Abdullah Khalaf Al-Dosari, first deputy chairman of the council, said there were only three rejected applications out of 500 candidates. “This will not disrupt the process due to the large number of candidates. Candidates should hold Bahraini nationality as the original one.” However, according to reports, the council has denied several other prominent figures in the investment sector in Bahrain from running in the election. The council reportedly notified the rejected candidates without specifying reasons for the exclusion, despite some of the candidates having run in parliamentary elections years ago. The country’s constitution states: “The candidate should hold Bahraini nationality as the base and original one, with no reservations against him holding another foreign nationality.” Council members have reportedly ignored requests from several Bahrainis and those holding dual citizenship to overturn the ban. Many candidates had reportedly promised their supporters financial and other assistance once elected. The campaign has extended to social networking sites such as WhatsApp. However, other Bahraini citizens say that the campaign is only aimed at personal gain. According to reports, Sharekh Al-Dosari, a prominent businessman, was excluded from the list of candidates because the council said he was first a Saudi citizen before acquiring his Bahraini citizenship. Al-Dosari countered that he had run in Bahraini parliamentary elections in the past. “The reasons for rejecting my application are not clear yet.” The council has also set out criteria for candidates wanting to run in municipal elections. These include the applicant being a Bahraini, over 30 years of age and can read and write Arabic well. The person should also enjoy all civic and political rights, is enrolled on the electoral list in the same electoral district where he or she is running, should reside within the borders of the municipality as long as he or she is a member of the municipal council and has paid all fees involved.