Monday, October 29, 2007

Evaluating al-Wefaq

Jane Kinninmont has a good piece in the latest Arab Reform Bulletin assessing al-Wefaq's record in the Bahraini parliament. She notes they do have some achievements:
"The government is increasing investment in public-sector housing, a priority for al-Wefaq’s constituents in a country where land and mortgage financing are scarce. The government is also trying to reduce unemployment, disproportionately high among the Shi’a. It will soon introduce the country’s first ever unemployment benefits, which will be funded with an unpopular 1 percent levy on salaries--essentially Bahrain's first income tax. Pressure from al-Wefaq MPs also seems to have contributed to the recent dismissal of Health Minister Nada Haffad."

She notes, however, that movements such as al-Haqq also have successes through direct action, and my sense is that most Bahrainis see al-Wefaq as stumbling as an opposition force.



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