Manama: Shura Council members on Sunday approved tougher punishments for giving and receiving bribes during elections.
The amendments to the 2002 Shura Council and Parliament Law that would see people jailed for up to three years and fined up to BD3,000 for offering 'bribes' during elections.
Members said that the action of some candidates was affecting the election process.
It will be now drafted as a proper law by the Cabinet and referred back to the National Assembly.
A top Shura Council member has ridiculed proposed amendments. Council public utilities and environment committee chairman Faoud Al Haji said during the weekly session on Sunday that giving gifts was part of the Arab culture.
"Everyone has the same agenda whenever campaigning. It is all up to the banquets and gifts that will be given out to voters," he said.
"No, it is not a bribe and it is not against the rules as there is no service provided in return.
"So what if people are given what they need in return for their votes?"