Last updated: 12 August, 2011

Shiite opposition to boycott Bahrain vote

Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition party will boycott next month’s by-elections to replace MPs who resigned in protest against a crackdown on demonstrators, a party official told AFP on Friday.

The party, Al-Wefaq, “has decided to boycott the by-elections,” to replace its 18 MPs who walked out in February, shortly after a month-long anti-government protest began, official Khalil al-Marzouk said.

He said parliament had lost its legitimacy since the mass resignation, and “we will not be a part of this parliament as it does not represent the will of the people.”

In March, the 40-member parliament accepted the resignation of 11 of the 18 Al-Wefaq MPs who stepped down after security forces killed seven protesters as authorities in the kingdom ruled by a Sunni dynasty sought to curb protests inspired by uprisings that toppled Egypt’s and Tunisia’s presidents.

On March 16, security forces drove the mostly Shiite protesters out of central Manama’s Pearl Square and demolished their camp after King Hamad declared a state of emergency and called in Saudi-led Gulf troops to boost his security forces.

Authorities in the Shiite-majority nation said 24 people, including four policemen, were killed in the unrest.

“Our decision is final. We will not participate in this parliament,” said Marzouk.