Egypt asserted its “continued support for the stability and prosperity of Bahrain” in a congratulatory note on the completion of the parliamentary and municipal elections in the Gulf kingdom.
In a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Egypt expressed its welcoming of the “great success” achieved by Bahrain by conducting the elections “which witnessed a high turnout”.
Voters cast ballots in Bahrain on Saturday, in a vote that was boycotted by major opposition groups. On 11 October, a coalition of Bahraini parties including the largest in Bahrain, the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, announced it was boycotting the vote.
Bahraini Executive Director of Elections Abdulla bin Hassan Al-Bouainain said the voter turnout was 52.6%, with approximately 184,000 of Bahrain’s 350,000 eligible voters taking part.
Vice President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Said Yousif Almuhafda said the centre was not allowed to monitor the elections, since authorities consider the centre an “illegal organisation”.
“No independent organisation was allowed to monitor the elections at all,” he added.
“The regime wants the elections to pass without the opposition and without the Shi’a majority,” Almuhafda said, adding that elections should be the result of real, national dialogue and reconciliation.
Between 17 and 23 November, dozens were arrested as tensions in the Gulf country continued.
Bahrain is a small island country which hosts the Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy, and has a population of approximately 1.3 million people, of which over half are immigrants.
The local population is largely split among Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. The ruling regime of Sunni King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa is said to have made reforms in the country, since his rule started 1999. They, however, were not enough for many Shi’a Bahrainis, who took to the streets in 2011 to demand political reforms.
Demonstrators were met with a violent crackdown by security forces and after a month of instability, regional security forces the Peninsula Shield Forces entered Bahrain to contain the protests at the government’s request.
After the repression of the 2011 uprising, the authorities proceeded to dismantle opposition groups and arrest political activists.
On Friday and Saturday, an opposition group called the Coalition of Youth of 14 February Revolution held a “popular referendum”.
In the parallel vote, people were asked to vote “yes, to determine their fate” but Almuhafda said security forces intervened and “random and arbitrary arrests took place”.