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Bahrain's former MPs 'can contest elections'.

Bahrain's former opposition MPs will be able to contest next month's parliament by-elections, a top official has confirmed.

However, the final decision on whether their names will be included in the list of candidates will be subject to evaluation by concerned bodies, said legislation and legal opinion commission president Abdulla Hassan Ahmed Al Buainain.

"Nobody can be stopped from nominating their name to contest the by-elections. If any candidate faces problem, they could liaise with the judge of the assigned centre and file a complaint in the High Civil Appeals Court," he said.

A total of 111,814 Bahrainis are eligible to cast their ballots in elections for seats vacated by MPs belonging to opposition group Al Wefaq. Candidates can file their nominations for the seats from August 22 to 24 from 9pm to midnight.

"The election rules are similar to the last election which include a candidate to be proficient in Arabic (reading and writing)," said Al Buainain. "They should carry their passport and Smart card at the time of registration."

Al Buainain, also chief executive of the by-elections, said candidates would have to pay a non-refundable amount of BD200. "The money collected from the registration process is used for charity purpose in co-operation with the Human Rights and Social Development Ministry."

The final list of candidates will be displayed at four schools from August 25 to 27.

Al Buainain said in cases where dead people appeared on the voting list, relatives could visit the polling centres and present a death certificate to the presiding judge for exclusion.

People can also cast their votes at Bahrain International Airport, King Fahad Causeway, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain City Centre mall and the Education Ministry in Isa Town.

"There will be 23 polling centres, including the general polling centres for voters to cast their votes in 18 constituencies," said Al Buainain. "Every centre will have a judge and a team working to assist voters on election day."

The by-elections will be held on September 24, with a second round scheduled for October 1 for any constituency with no clear winner. Voting will also be held at Bahraini embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions abroad on September 20 and in case of a revote on September 27.

Bahrainis travelling abroad on polling day are advised to contact the call centre and inform Bahrain's Embassy or Consulate in the place they are travelling to.

"For example, if a voter is travelling to London he has to notify the embassy to cast his vote. His name will then be deleted from the voters list in Bahrain to ensure transparency." He said officials were co-operating with General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence to issue temporary cards to voters, who had lost their passports or submitted them for renewal.

He said staff would mark voters' passports and temporary cards with an election logo to prevent double voting. Eleven Al Wefaq members had their resignations accepted in March, after they were accused of stoking tensions during protests. The society is still discussing whether to take part in the by-elections.

More than 850 staff will be on duty during next month's parliamentary by-elections to ensure a transparency, Al Buainain added. -- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Aug 9, 2011
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