Rare parliament speaker -Asala MP clash threatened to derail session

February 9, 2010
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 A rare clash between the lower chamber speaker and an MP representing Al Asala threatened to derail today’s parliamentary session before both sides regained their composure.

Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani said that the government wanted to delay a much-anticipated discussion on an ongoing investigation into the status of national carrier Gulf Air. His announcement sparked angry comments among the MPs who had planned to devote time for the debate on the struggling airline.

MP Abdul Halim Murad said that the letter was eroding the prestige of the lower chamber, prompting the speaker to comment that the lawmaker’s reaction was an election campaign manoeuvre.

However, Abdul Halim said that he was shocked by the speaker’s attitude and left the hall, shouting that he was not honoured to be an MP and that he was resigning. Some MPs followed him to calm down the situation, but Abdul Halim did not go back to the hall.

Al Dhahrani, a speaker during the 2002-2006 term as well, later told the MPs that he regretted his remark and urged them to convey his apologies to Murad. “I see that my brother Abdul Halim is not here, but please do inform him that I am sorry,” he told the session. “I should hate to talk about the incident because I want it closed, but my heart is wide open for my brother,” Al Dhahrani said.

Abdul Halim later said that his announcement to resign from the parliament was uttered when he was angry, but that he would still consider his options.

“In all cases, I am under Al Asala and it is up to them to decide on whether I remain in the parliament or not, on whether I run again this autumn or not,” he said.

Abdul Halim attributed his anger to the frustration he felt for not doing enough to carry out pledges to probe companies and ministries under scrutiny for alleged mismanagement or financial irregularities.

Al Asala is the second largest parliamentary bloc with eight of the 40 seats. Unlike, the MPs representing Al Wefq, the largest bloc, its members have rarely clashed with the speaker and have often supported him in standoffs.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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