Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric has dismissed the country’s upcoming parliamentary polls, saying the ruling Al Khalifah regime wants to maintain its grip on power and strengthen tyranny in the Persian Gulf kingdom by means of the ballots cast in the elections.
“Elections in Bahrain are only meant to reinforce tyranny, and people play into the hands of the ruling regime and are treated as playthings,” Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.
“Does common sense dictate participation in such elections?” he questioned.
الانتخاباتُ في البحرين لمزيدٍ من تسلُّط الحكم، أمّا الشعبُ فهو الآلة المستفاد منها للسيطرة التامّة على أنفاسه.— آية الله الشيخ عيسى قاسم (@AyatollahQassim) November 2, 2022
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Earlier, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, had called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country, amid an escalation of political repression and absence of meaningful reforms.
In a statement released on September 14, al-Wefaq described the 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 Khalifah dynasty and cover up its human rights abuses.
It added that the constitutional and political rift between the Bahraini regime and the nation is deepening day by day, the main reason for 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 by imposing its political, economic, security and social wills on the Bahraini nation, al-Wefaq 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.