Bahrain's opposition parties will boycott parliamentary elections due to take place this year unless the government guarantees the vote will reflect the will of the people, a statement from the opposition said on Saturday.
"The National Democratic Opposition Parties in Bahrain announced they are to boycott the coming Parliamentary elections unless a clear political agreement is reached," said the statement issued after a meeting at the headquarters of al Wefaq, the main opposition movement, according to Reuters.
"These elections must produce an elected government reflecting the will of the people, an independent judiciary and a security services that reflect Bahrain's diversity."
The groups urged the international community to help them pursue a peaceful democratic transition.
"The opposition will work on developing the peaceful popular struggle for democracy," the statement said.
"We will stick to political activism that is based only on peaceful principles and continue to reject all and any violence."
Bahrain effectively bans protests and gatherings not licensed by the government.
It quelled the 2011 revolt with help from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, but protests and clashes persist and bomb attacks have increased since mid-2012.
Al Wafaq, withdrew its 18 members from parliament in 2011 after the monarchy moved to crush protests. The government held elections that year to replace the opposition lawmakers who withdrew.
Since the uprising began, dozens of opposition protesters have been killed or jailed.
There are a total of 80 seats in Bahrain's parliament, divided equally between the upper and lower chambers. Elections are held every four years. The last time the opposition boycotted was in 2002.
Bahrain, a base for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since protests erupted in 2011 after similar uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Talks between the government and opposition have failed to end the political standoff. Many Bahrainis complain of political and economic discrimination in the Persian Gulf island state, a charge the authorities deny.
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