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Hundreds expected to help monitor election.

HUNDREDS of volunteers are expected to help monitor Bahrain's upcoming parliamentary and municipality elections.

Preparations for electoral monitoring by the Joint Committee of Monitoring 2010 Elections (JCME) are underway, said Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) secretary-general Abdulla Al Deerazi.

It is collaborating with the Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS) to observe the elections.

The committee was also involved in monitoring Bahrain's first elections in 2002 and the last one in 2006.

"We ran a workshop to train the trainers in February," Mr Al Deerazi told the GDN.

"We trained 20 participants from different non-government organisations who will later take the responsibility to train future volunteers on monitoring elections.

"This year, we are expecting around 200 volunteers to be involved."

The workshop aimed to familiarise trainers with the process and how to monitor them, stated Mr Al Deerazi.

Participants received a monitoring guide based on the JCME's experience in the previous two elections as well as the electoral mentoring experience of other Arab and international countries.

"One of the most vital parts of the workshop was familiarising the participants with nine different forms," said Mr Al Deerazi.

An electoral monitor's role never involves interference of any kind even if they witness violations, stated Mr Al Deerazi, adding their role was simply to observe and fill out forms.

"However, in such a case, the monitor would call a dedicated JCME call centre, who would then contact the concerned bodies."

The JCME is planning to host workshop for new volunteers later this month and will then choose the final 20 trainees from both workshops to receive further training.

Successful participants will then be responsible for the expected 200 electoral monitoring volunteers.

Meanwhile, Mr Al Deerazi also called for international monitors to be allowed to observe this year's elections.

"International monitoring is good for the country," he said.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Apr 20, 2010
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