Counting begins in Bahrain elections amid claims of Iranian interference

AL-MANAMA: Polling stations closed and counting began on Saturday evening in Bahrain for 2018 parliamentary elections.

The government confirmed that 506 candidates were running in the election, including 137 for local city councils and the highest number of female candidates. Bahrain’s justice minister announced on Saturday that turnout was 67 per cent, higher than in 2014, which was at 53 percent, when opposition groups boycotted the elections.

Around 365,000 were expected to turn up at 54 polling stations, and 23 out of 40 incumbents in the House of Representatives were seeking re-election this year to parliament.

Earlier on Saturday, Bahrain’s interior ministry had called on Bahrainis to disregard rumours and seek “trusted sources” for information.

“Text messages saying your name has been removed and calling on you not to vote are false,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.

The ministry later accused Iran of sending the messages saying it was “the source of 40,000 e-messages to disturb the parliamentary and municipal elections.”

Saudi Arabia regards the neighboring island nation as a critical ally in countering Iranian interference in the Middle East.


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