Bahrain opposition challenges election turnout

AP News
Posted: Sep 25, 2011 11:02 AM
Bahrain opposition challenges election turnout

The head of Bahrain's main opposition party is challenging the official turnout figures for this weekend's parliamentary elections, which were held under a boycott call by Shiite-led groups seeking greater rights from the Gulf kingdom's Sunni rulers.

Sheik Ali Salman claims about 17 percent of voters took part in Saturday's elections. The government's preliminary turnout figure was more than 51 percent, but it was unclear if the tally included counts from districts where candidates ran unopposed.

Salman's Wefaq party and other Shiite blocs urged a boycott to protest crackdowns. He claimed Sunday that the boycott was effective.

The election was called to fill 18 seats in the 40-member parliament after mass resignations by Shiite lawmakers.