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Capital voters 'afraid' to cast ballot says survey.

A SAMPLE study has found that some voters in the Capital Governorate are "afraid" to vote in next month's election because of the opposition boycott.

The Bahrain Human Rights Group (BHRG) interviewed 240 Bahrainis in the street for their opinion on the November 22 polls.

It said 68pc said that they were keen to take part of the election, but of those 52pc admitted they were worried about the consequences from opposition supporters.

"The survey covered opinions from people, randomly chosen from the 10 constituencies of the Capital Governorate," BHRG co-ordinator Faisal Fulad told the GDN.

A total of 349,713 voters are eligible to participate in the parliament and municipal elections next month.

"Out of the 240 who willingly participated in the survey, 68pc said that they will take part in the polls," said Mr Fulad.

"This group (the 68pc) said that by being part of the election they wanted to make sure they elect the right person to help the system fight corruption and to ensure transparency regarding public funds through the parliament.

"They also said that by participating in the election, they wanted to defy boycott calls by the opposition.

"However, 52pc of this group said that they were afraid of the consequences they may have to face, both from religious clerics and (opposition group) Al Wefaq.

"They said they feared attacks, arson and damage."

Of those interviewed 10pc said they would not vote and another 22pc were unsure.

"Those who said that they would not take part in the election said that they were fed up of the whole reform process," said Mr Fulad. "They feel they have had enough of violence and wasted efforts.

"The 22pc unsure said participating in the election was not a big deal and not something that they should be thinking about."

Meanwhile, Mr Fulad said of the 68pc who were planning to vote, three quarters (76pc) wanted to see new young faces elected.

"They said that they need young MPs who can represent their demands in a fair manner in the parliament," he added.

"They also believed that young MPs will be more for reforms than limiting themselves to politics."

The BHRG will conduct similar surveys in the other three governorates in the coming days, said Mr Fulad.

"This is the first attempt of its kind in Bahrain and we have limitations with manpower and other resources to do this simultaneously in all four governorates," he explained.

"We hope to have wider participation from the public in the other governorates."

The BHRG constitutes four Bahraini organisations - the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS), Bahrain Jurists' Society, Al Karama Society and the Bahrain Free Labour Union Federation.

The Capital Governorate is the second largest in terms of the number of voters, with has 90,349 eligible to cast their ballots.

The Northern Governorate has the highest number with 119,467, while the Southern and Muharraq Governorates have 71,279 and 68,618 voters respectively.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Oct 29, 2014
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