Bahrain. According to
CountryAAH, Bahrain's Shiite opposition, which boycotted the
parliamentary elections in 2002, won over 40% of
parliamentary seats in the two rounds of elections in
November and December. Of the 206 female candidates, only Latifa al-Qouhoud managed to get one of Parliament's 40
seats. Shiam Muslim Jamiyat al-Wifaq al-Watany al-Islamiyya
won 17 seats, among them the party's leader Ali Salman. Two
Islamist Sunni parties retained their 13 seats, including an
independent Salafist. The other ten seats were distributed
between liberals and independent candidates believed to be
close to the Sunnis or the Sunni government. Voter turnout
was just over 70% compared to just over 50% in 2002. The
boycott in 2002 was based on dissatisfaction with the
legislative power being shared with a council, the Shura,
appointed by the King. He appointed a new council in
December. Among the 40 members, ten women were noticed.
In June, female diplomat Haya Rashid al-Khalifa succeeded
Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson as chairman of the UN General
Assembly. As a lawyer, she has worked for women's rights.
A crowded tourist boat sank off the Bahrain coast on
March 30, demanding 58 lives.