Voters cast ballots Thursday in Bahrain's first election for representative bodies in nearly 30 years. This was the first time Bahraini women were allowed to vote and run for office.
However, no women were elected to any of the 50 municipal seats up for grabs, said the Bahraini information minister. Of some 306 candidates, 30 were women.
"I am personally very sad. The government and king will also be very disappointed because they (the female candidates) have run very aggressive election campaigns," said Nabeel Al Hamer, the minister.
Male candidates won 28 of the 50 open seats, Justice Minister Sheik Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said early Friday. The other 22 seats went to a runoff, which was to be held next week. There were no women who made it into those runoff races.
Officials said turnout was higher than expected. Election commission chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Attiyat Allah said earlier he expected turnout of about 70 percent.
More than 200,000 residents were eligible to vote, including citizens of neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council states and foreigners owning property in the kingdom.
The election is the first step towards parliamentary elections in October, the crowning point of a process of democratic reform set in motion by ruler Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa who has appointed himself king under a new constitution.
"It's a historic day for Bahrain ... on the path to a better democratic future," Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa told reporters after voting in Rifaa, 18 kilometers south of Manama. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )