Record number of women contest in Bahrain’s local elections

Bahrain will field a record number of women candidates in the upcoming parliamentary and municipality elections to be held on November 24, although two of the three incumbent female MPs have decided to opt out of this year’s race.

While two women legislators, Dr. Jameela Al Sammak and Fatima Al Asfoor, have chosen not to seek re-election, at least 41 women candidates are contesting in parliamentary elections, while eight women have filed their candidacy in municipality elections.

Women candidates taking part in elections include eminent professionals and celebrities in the island kingdom, including lawyers and even an Olympian and Asian Games gold medalist.

Growing confidence

Among those candidates running for parliament is Fawzia Zainal, who is contesting elections for a third time, after having coming close to winning a seat in 2014. Zainal, who first ran for elections in East Riffa district, fell short of a mere 288 votes in a run-off round against her male opponent in 2014.

“In 2006, I ran against four men and came in second with 1,764 votes. In 2006, the experience was still new for both myself and the voters where we were just practicing getting familiar with elections and practicing the right to vote. I received a lot of questions about my gender and people were still getting to know who to pick the right candidate for their districts,” Zainal told Al Arabiya English.

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