Manama: Bahraini voters are returning to the polls for a runoff election being boycotted by the opposition for the country’s first new parliament since widespread Arab Spring-inspired protests nearly four years ago.
Saturday’s election follows a first-round vote last weekend and is for 34 seats in the 40-seat lower house of parliament where no candidate won a majority.
Bahraini authorities say more than half of registered voters cast ballots last weekend, though leading Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq disputes that figure. It estimated turnout at closer to 30 percent.
Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and is part of the US-led coalition striking the Islamic State group. It continues to face street clashes and other low-level unrest as its majority Shiites push for greater political freedoms from the Sunni monarchy.