Bahrain’s prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim has questioned the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, saying they lack value.
During his sermon at the weekly Friday Prayer in Imam Sadiq Mosque located in Bahrain’s Diraz area, Qassim said the Manama regime’s opposition groups can only take to the polls when there is some hope from participating in the elections, Bahrain’s Lulu TV channel reported.
Raising questions about a claimed democracy in the small Persian Gulf kingdom, the cleric termed as “meaningless” a democracy that only allows those supporting the government to express their views.
Opposition groups are not permitted to give their opinion, he said, adding that if none of these groups take part in the elections, “then the choice will be worthless.”
Qassim also condemned explosions and the burning of cars as “unacceptable” and “an attempt to destabilize” the country.
“It is the right of all opposition groups to have participation and supervision in the elections. … what kind of democracy is it that only allows the government to express its views? The ability of candidates is more important than their numbers,” he further stated.
Bahrainis have held protests across the country calling for the boycott of the elections scheduled to take place on November 22.
The elections will be the first since protests broke out in Bahrain more than three years ago.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifa royal family to step down from power. The protesters have also slammed the Manama regime’s arrest and torture of political activists.
Many Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.