TWENTY-SIX polling booths have been set up as Bahrain’s main business body gears up for Saturday’s board elections.
A total of 32,745 businessmen and women have registered to cast their ballot in the elections which will be held from 8am to 10pm at the Isa Cultural Centre in Juffair.
Seventy-two candidates, including 12 women, are contesting the polls in which 18 seats are up for grabs.
They gathered yesterday for a briefing on the election process at the centre, where preparations were in full swing with posters set up warning against taking photographs or using mobile phones while casting a ballot.
“We are providing the best facilities and equipment to speed up the voting process because we value the time of voters, companies and candidates,” said BCCI elections committee chairman Jassim Abdul A’al.
“There are 32 registration desks that are connected to Sijilat (online database) to know the Commercial Registration information of every voter.”
Mr Abdul A’al explained that every voter should carry a CPR or passport that will be verified at the desk, following which a ticket will be issued to the voter.
“We have set up a queuing system and there is a special waiting area for the voters following which they will be given a ballot paper,” he added.
“There are special pens in the polling booth that should be used by the voter to highlight their choice.
“Ballot papers that have a tick, cross or any other symbols will be considered void.”
This is because the ballot paper reader does not register any other markings.
Voters cannot select more than 18 candidates from the ballot paper that has names and photographs of all 72 election hopefuls.
“The final results after voting ends should be ready by midnight,” said Mr Abdul A’al.
“I urge all candidates to run clean campaigns without any cheap tactics because we have monitors to register any violations.
“The election process will be streamed live on YouTube and CCTV camera access will be available to the election committee.”
Candidates are split into four blocs; the seven-member Taawon (Co-operation), the 15-member Tojjar 2018 coalition, the 11-member Al Ghad (Tomorrow) bloc and the 16-member Sharaka bloc.
Twenty-three independent candidates are also running for a seat on the BCCI board.
The BCCI witnessed a major restructuring of its board in 2016 with Ahmed Bin Hindi and Abdulhakeem Al Shammary replacing Nabeel Kanoo and Khalid Al Amin on its seven-member executive committee.
Mr Kanoo resigned in January last year citing allegations of nepotism, unjustified spending, internal rifts and a monopoly on foreign trips.
In February last year board member Othman Al Rayes also resigned alleging the role of BCCI chairman Khalid Almoayed had been hijacked by other members and general body resolutions on membership fees were bypassed.
BCCI board also passed a vote of no-confidence in July 2016 against its former chief executive and voted to replace him with Dr Khalid Al Ruwaihi.
After the board reshuffle Mr Almoayed resigned in 2016, citing frustration at alleged interference by the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry, but the board rejected his resignation.