Bahrain 2022 Elections: Elections without Voters
2022-10-31 - 12:13 م
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Until 2011, the Al Khalifa family remained largely committed to formalities, in various matters and situations, from events of social and religious nature to political stances of all kinds.
Khalifa bin Salman was keen on keeping Shia figures around him, and the authorities from the time of Isa bin Salman to Hamad bin Isa were determined to show Shiite figures and clerics on various occasions.
Since 2001, the family has been dedicated to presenting itself as a royal family like the royal families in countries such as the United Kingdom, where the king is the father of all, his children are interested in sports, charity and art and are popular with the youths, in particular. It also has been devoted to showcasing an image that says the country is full of institutions that express a truly democratic state, from the media, the parliament to freedoms that can all be found in this tiny island.
Even election manipulation was carried out through political naturalization, which used to increase the electorate in an unnatural manner-the peak of political naturalization was between 2001 and 2006, and this was demonstrated by the abnormal increase in the electorate.
Bahrain used to be very concerned about its reputation with regard to international human rights organizations and used to always try to improve its image through public relations campaigns to reduce any effects of these repeated human rights criticisms.
However, 2011 came along to change everything in this Gulf country. The ruling family members were no longer ashamed of sectarian discourse. Khalifa bin Salman attended Busaiteen Square to deliver speeches full of hate, and was carried on people's shoulders there. We saw members of the ruling family resort to violence, carrying arms and pursuing peaceful protesters. Inflammatory online social media accounts run by members of the ruling family were created, the Minister of Justice abandoned respect when speaking to religious and political figures who have a history that extends far back before his birth and upbringing, newspapers were shut down, people were arrested, and killed in the streets or by the gallows, and Bahrain took none of the criticism or human rights reports from the largest or smallest human rights organizations into consideration.
The ruling family began to play its own game, which it has always played, but openly and without shame or equivocation.
From this time on, the family abandoned even formalities that had long been a prominent feature of the "Reformation Reign".
There was no longer a problem in passing laws and punishing people for their beliefs or political affiliations through a law such as that of "political isolation" that has went as far as punishing anyone belonging to a dissolved political society, even for running in elections of boards of directors of charitable funds and sports clubs.
We reached a new stage of indifference, by striking off the names of all those who dared not go to the polls in the previous elections (the project of removing boycotters from the voters' lists began in the 2018 elections specifically and the deleting process increased in 2022). They believe there is no need for the votes of those who decided to boycott the elections, there is no need for them to be on the voters' list in the first place. They want to punish everyone without a care. This is how the King of Bahrain treats the citizens of his country.
Gone are the days when the authorities exercised intimidation by denying services to boycotters or by encouraging them by granting voter privileges. In 2022, they don't need people's votes, they will choose 40 clowns who will fill newspapers and the media with humorous materials for the next four years, and they will then search for 40 other clowns.
As for those who wish to run, they are only simple citizens (mostly) looking to adjust their living conditions by getting a job with an attractive salary and a diplomatic passport, and nothing more. The authorities are the ones who decide who deserves to run and who they want in their joke of a council that no one takes seriously, even the king.
Below are the official figures published about the electorate from the vote on the National Action Charter in 2011, to the 2022 elections scheduled for November, and the figures speak for themselves.