AL Wefaq National Islamic Society is expected to win up to half of the seats in parliament if it runs in the October elections. Leading society member Dr Ahmed Al Tahoo said that because it was the biggest opposition party, members expected it to secure between 15 and 20 seats, if it takes part in the parliament elections.
With this in mind, he said, all eyes were on the results of the society's general assembly elections, which were held at the Al Huda Hall, Saar last night.
Al Wefaq was one of four societies which boycotted the first elections for the 40-seat parliament in 2002.
"In the last (parliament) elections the four opposition parties were against taking part - they are now restructuring and will decide whether to boycott parliament or not," Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry board member Dr Al Tahoo told the GDN yesterday.
"Al Wefaq is the major political party that everyone is monitoring.
"There are lots of clues that people (from the four opposition parties) will participate in the elections.
"Al Wefaq will get most seats of the opposition parties - 15 to 20 seats - which are half of the seats in parliament, so all the societies are watching like a hawk."
More than 1,500 society members turned out for last night's elections, in which 60 members were running for 30 seats on the society's consultative council.
Those running for elections included members grouped into four panels, as well as 11 independent campaigners.
The largest panel with 23 members was headed by Mohammed Jameel Al Jamri, another headed by Majeed Milad had 12 members, one more had 11 members headed by Shaikh Sayed Al Haider Sitri and the smallest had three members headed by Shaikh Mohammed Al Mahdi.
Six people also ran for five seats on the society's judicial board.
Shaikh Ali Salman was re-elected unopposed as general secretary and board member Shaikh Hussain Daihi was elected unopposed as assistant general secretary.
"Everyone in Bahrain is watching this election," said Dr Al Tahoo, who was a candidate for seats on the society's consultative council.
"Many of those that win the elections, if Al Wefaq decides to enter parliament, are eligible to sit in parliament.
"Al Wefaq will support many of these people, it's very exciting and everyone is watching."
Dr Al Tahoo said the future for political societies in Bahrain was strong since they were now monitored by the Justice Ministry instead of the Social Affairs Ministry as in previous years.
"The society is working on a party structure and being monitored by the Justice Ministry.
"This is the first time in the Gulf and a big milestone for Bahrain."