Bahrain holds ‘farce' elections with ban on opposition groups

TEHRAN, Nov. 24 (MNA) – Bahrain is holding parliamentary elections on Saturday, while the validity of the poll has been thrown into question following a ban on opposition parties and jailed activists.

Bahrain is holding what has been labeled by activists as ‘farce’ parliamentary elections from which opposition groups have been barred in a heavy-handed crackdown on the dissent. The crackdown has been ongoing since 2011 when pro-democracy protests began in the Western-allied kingdom.

Human Rights Watch says Bahrain’s repressive political environment is not conducive to free elections, while Bahrain's dissolved opposition groups, religious scholars and activists have boycotted Saturday's poll, calling the move "legitimate and logical" in the face of repression of freedom.

The island nation has a dark history of prosecuting scores of people, mostly activists, in mass trials, as well as forcible closure of independent news media and the dissolution of all opposition political groups. It has also deprived many of its Shia population of jobs and government services.

The polls, which opened at 8am local time (05:00 GMT), are set to close at 8pm (17:00 GMT).

News Code 139876

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