Bahrain's Shiite opposition has won at least 40 percent of seats in parliament in polls that attracted a high turnout, an official has told AFP.
Their success in Saturday's polls comes against the background of the Shiite rise to dominance in Iraq. At least 16 of the 17 candidates fielded by Islamic National Accord Association (INAA) -- the main formation of Bahrain's Shiite majority -- won seats in the 40-member parliament, the official said. Senior election official Walid Buallai put the turnout at 72 percent.
Newspapers and state-run television said the 72 percent turnout was 18 percent higher than at the last polls in 2002, which were boycotted by the Shiite and leftist opposition.
The results gives INAA control over 40 percent of the elected chamber.
The 17th INAA candidate is expected to go into a second round scheduled for December 2. Meanwhile, two other Shiite candidates who are INAA members but ran outside the group's list will face each other in a runoff.
Sheikh Ali Salman, INAA's leader who led its electoral ticket and won a seat, had told AFP that all INAA candidates were expected to win by the second round.
Four candidates of INAA's leftist ally, the National Democratic Action Association (NDAA), also went into the second round.
Meanwhile, the two main Sunni Islamist groups, which together had 13 seats in the outgoing chamber, clinched only five seats in the first round, with seven others reaching the next round.