Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bahrain's Political Crisis

There has also been a political crisis underway in Bahrain. Mahmood explains:
"Over the last 3 weeks, parliament, at least the House of Representatives part in it, could not be convened due to vociferous demands by Al-Wefaq (+1) to question the main minister involved in Bandargate on financial irregularities which might be enough to impeach him. The other side of the House adamantly refused to let that intrinsic legislative tool be used claiming that the questioning is unconstitutional and using every single trick they can get hold of to hinder it. So much so that the House’s main legal council quit rather suddenly and flew back to his native Egypt - some say due to him being pressured and cajoled to change his position of which he maintained the constitutionality of the motion...

"Al-Dhahrani, the speaker of the house, still insists on the unconstitutionality of the motion and wants the house to vote on it. A process that Al-Wefaq is completely against due to it being against the House’s bylaws first, and second, because they can never win that vote given that the current make-up of the House is 22 against and 18 for. You will be interested to know that Al-Wefaq is represented by 18 votes in the House, even though they have gained 63% of the actual vote! But that’s another story...

"My mind is still boggled as to why the parliament itself is against using a very important tool like questioning a minister. Other than them being interfered with and pushed into their respective positions, I really have no explanation to this laughable situation."

Bahrain's situation is, of course, a striking contrast to Kuwait's. One difference, as noted in the second paragraph I excerpted, is that the Bahraini government can still rig the elections. The speaker knows he and his party can't win a fair fight, so they stick up for the government, and ultimately allow that government to look reasonable by contrast. I suspect a deeper issue is that the royal family has manipulated sectarianism in the country to prevent the population from developing a common protest agenda.



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