Bahrain holds its first major vote since unrest
The country’s Shiite opposition has called for voters to boycott the election Saturday
Voting has begun in Bahrain’s first full parliamentary elections since Arab Spring-protests erupted here four years ago.
The country’s Shiite opposition has called for voters to boycott the election Saturday.
State media in Bahrain reports that a total of 419 candidates are running for municipal and parliamentary seats. Any candidates that do not secure more than 50 percent of the vote will head to a runoff a week later.
The elections, however, are unlikely to diffuse tensions between Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy and Shiite activists who continue to protest for greater rights and a newgreater say in government.
The elections are being watched closely by Bahrain’s Gulf neighbors and Washington. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and is part of the U.S.-led coalition striking the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.