Al Asala rejects influential MP’s resignation

February 21, 2010

MP Abdul Halim Murad

Al Asala, Bahrain’s second largest parliamentary bloc, has rejected the resignation of one of its most influential members in the lower chamber.

“The political bureau of Al Asala flatly rejects the resignation of MP Abdul Halim Murad and wants him to continue his laudable work in the lower chamber,” Al Asala said in a statement. “Resignation cannot be a solution to any problem in the relationship between the legislative and executive branches. What is needed is that he remains as a member in the parliament, and that we coordinate with the other blocs and use the constitutional and political means available to reach solutions to problems.”

Abdul Halim stormed out of the lower chamber two weeks ago following a “disparaging” remark from Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani over the merit of addressing alleged financial and management irregularities in Gulf Air, the national airline.

The MP has been spearheading a drive to probe the struggling company amid claims that several forces were working together to procrastinate discussion of the financial losses, estimated at $500 million, by the lower chamber.

A call Al Dhahrani earlier this month to delay the parliamentary debate prompted Abdul Halim to claim that the move was unfair. However, when Al Dhahrani retorted that the MP’s stance was purely “election propaganda”, Abdul Halim shouted that he was quitting the parliament and stormed out of the building.

Al Dhahrani minutes later offered an apology in the parliament to Abdul Halim, urging him to see his words as “unfortunate”.

Pressed to withdraw his resignation, the MP said that he would wait for instructions from his society before making a final decision.

“We try to fight all forms of corruption or mismanagement and we should be able to sit with people and show that we have worked hard for their sake. If we are deprived of such opportunities, then we will lose our credibility and people do not trust us any more,” he said minutes after he left the parliament building. “The pressure on us as people who speak in the name of Islam and insist on compliance with Islamic tents is very strong and we have to deliver.”

Even though several MPs expressed their sympathy with Abdul Halim, the MP missed the last session on Tuesday.

But now that his society has publicly called upon him to resume his parliamentary responsibilities, he is expected to re-appear at the session on Tuesday.

Al Asala, the flagship of Salafism in Bahrain, has eight members in the 40-seat lower chamber whereas Al Wefaq the largest bloc has 17. But constant partnership with the Islamic Menbar, holder of seven seats, and several independent MPs have often given Al Asala the edge.

The term of the current parliament is expected to end in May before the next elections are held, most probably in October.




About the author

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

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