Bahrain's main opposition group calls for boycott of November legislative elections

The headquarters of Bahrain's main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, is seen in the Bilad al-Qadim district, west of the capital, Manama, Bahrain. (File photo)

Bahrain's main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has called for the boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Persian Gulf nation, amid the escalation of political repression, and absence of serious reforms.

Al-Wefaq, in a statement released on Wednesday, described boycott of November 12 polls as a national duty, emphasizing that the ruling Manama regime maintains absolute control over the electoral process and seeks to install a weak legislature, whose main task would be to burnish the image of the corrupt Al Khlifah dynasty and cover up its human rights abuses.

It added that the constitutional and political rift between the Bahraini regime and nation is deepening day by day, the main reason of which, it said, is the lack of any social agreement between the two sides.

In the absence of a real administration, the Al Khalifah regime continues its authoritarian rule through imposing its political, economic, security and social wills on the Bahraini nation, Wefaq said.

“The boycott of the upcoming elections is the least thing that one could do in the face of oppression, corruption, tyranny and domination in Bahrain,” Wefaq highlighted, stressing that continuation of the present situation will pose a real danger to the livelihood, security and future of Bahraini people as well as future generations.

“We reiterate that the only solution to the crisis in Bahrain is a comprehensive solution that gives compatriots the full right to freely choose the type of political system they want as stipulated by international treaties and agreements, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the statement read.

It added, “There is a need to change from an authoritarian regime to a democratic government, where people can make their choices through democratic and peaceful mechanisms than administrations that have proven to be failing and ineffective. An authoritarian regime lacks the ability to tackle crises, and actually aggravates them.”

“The countries that support the Al Khalifah regime have a responsibility towards Bahraini people, particularly the countries that claim to be advocates of democracy and freedom but strive to perpetuate tyranny and human rights violations,” Wefaq underscored.

Back in mid-July, Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric dismissed the upcoming parliamentary elections as “a new disaster and calamity” for the country, stating that the polls will only reinforce the Al Khalifah dynasty’s reactionary and oppressive measures and jeopardize the interests of the Bahraini people.

Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim said in a statement that the November elections will exacerbate the sufferings of the Bahraini nation, consolidate the dictatorship of the ruling Manama regime, and broaden the hardship that people are experiencing.

General elections are scheduled to be held in Bahrain on November 12 to elect the 40 members of the Council of Representatives.

“Those who believe in Sharia (Islamic law) should not remain silent in the face of this unfair election, which aims to determine the fate of the nation against their will and further marginalize and violate their interests,” the senior Bahraini cleric said.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.

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