Al Wefaq, British ambassador under fire from angry MPs

March 1, 2010

Ambassador Jamie Bowden

Angry lawmakers from two major parliamentary blocs have criticized both the country’s largest bloc and the British ambassador to Bahrain for holding a meeting allegedly on the political situation in Bahrain.

MPs from Al Asala accused Al Wefaq, which has 17 of the 40 seats in the lower chamber, of plotting a constitutional coup after it called ten days ago at its general assembly for a change in the constitution mechanism of the cabinet.

“Urging the formation of government in a way other than stipulated in the constitution amounts to an open call for a constitutional and political coup,” said Al Asala Society, the flag bearers of the Salafi movement in Bahrain. “The reactions that followed the conference reflect the deep chasm between Al Wefaq and other mainstream official and national forces regarding the constitution, the National Action Charter and the legitimacy of the political regime,” Al Asala said.

Al Menbar, the third largest bloc in the parliament, said that there was a need to “respect the constitution fully and to foil any attempt to foment sedition in the country.”

Al Wefaq, however, denied the charges and said that it adhered to the spirit of the National Action Charter and did not seek to erode it or undermine its principles.

Jamie Bowden, the British envoy in Manama also came under fire for meeting members from Al Wefaq after the conference, and Adel Al Mouawda, the chairman of the lower chamber’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee said that diplomatic action should be taken against the ambassador.

“Interference in internal issues by foreign parties has no reason or excuse and is not welcome … The British behaviour is putting the Bahraini society at risk since it is fuelling tension at a time when we believe that what is needed is to narrow differences and bring people together through the efforts of dedicated leaders and people,” Al Mouawda was quoted as saying by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The Salafi MP said that while he understood the significance of social contacts between diplomats and local societies, he saw Bowden’s meeting with Al Wefaq as “foreign interference in local affairs.”



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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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