Bahrain. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Bahrain include Independence Day (December 16) and New Year (January 1). 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.