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Lawyer to appeal against court's decision in BCCI voter database case

Bahrain News
Thu, 01 Mar 2018
By Noor Zahra

A LAWYER says he plans to appeal against a court’s decision to throw out a lawsuit, which alleged potential for voter fraud during elections at Bahrain’s main business assembly.

The case challenged the legitimacy of a voter database maintained by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), which is set to hold its board elections this month.

However, the High Administrative Court yesterday rejected the complaint.

It was filed by lawyer Saad Aldoseri and sought to restrict voting to company owners whose Commercial Registrations (CRs) are logged with the government.

The case also sought the appointment of judges to supervise the polls, rather than BCCI administrative staff, to guarantee transparency and ensure ballots were not tampered with.

“I will lodge an appeal at the High Administrative Court against the ruling,” Mr Aldoseri told the GDN.

He previously said he brought the case on behalf of a group of BCCI members, who would be voting in the election.

However, he declined to name them or disclose how many clients he was representing.

The lawsuit named BCCI chairman Khalid Almoayed, elections committee chairman Jassim Abdul A’Al, Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Al Zayani, Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa and Cassation Court chairman and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) deputy president Abdulla Al Buainain.

Mr Abdul A’Al previously responded to the case by stating BCCI elections would be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

Voting is due to take place on March 10, which means there is just over a week to lodge the appeal.

Crosshead: Allegations

Candidates caught trying to bribe their way to victory have already been warned they will be immediately disqualified, following allegations of a cash-for-votes scandal during the last election in 2014.

One group contesting this year’s polls has already claimed to be the victim of a smear campaign, after an audio recording was circulated in which a woman – apparently speaking on behalf of the bloc – offers incentives to a potential voter.

Following the allegations it emerged that government inspectors would monitor this year’s BCCI election for the first time.

Under rules that came into effect in 2016 every CR holder in Bahrain is a compulsory member of the BCCI, meaning nearly 100,000 CR holders are eligible to vote.

The GDN reported last month that around 54,000 members had registered.

Voting will take place at the Isa Cultural Centre, in Juffair, from 8am to 10pm and the election will determine the BCCI’s 18-member board for the next four years.

A final list of all candidates contesting the polls will be released on March 8.

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