Al Wefaq names bloc head, deputy speaker candidate

November 4, 2010

Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest parliamentary bloc in 2010 – 2014, appears to have decided to not put up a fight for the position of Speaker of the lower chamber.

However it has named a candidate for the First Deputy Speaker position.

Al Wefaq has 18 lawmakers in the 40-seat lower chamber, three short of the majority it needs to remove Khalifa Al Dhahrani who has been the Speaker for the past eight years and who has the support of the 21 other MPs.

Bahrain’s new-look lower chamber ushered in on October 30 after two rounds of nationwide polls has 18 lawmakers from Al Wefaq, 17 independent MPs and three representing Al Asala, the expression of Salafis, and two from the Islamic Menbar, the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. The 40 members will choose a Speaker and his first and second deputy when they convene for the first time, most likely in December.

Members of Al Wefaq, in their election win, have repeatedly hinted to the possibility of taking the Speaker position, arguing that they formed the largest bloc. However, several veteran MPs ruled out the possibility and insisted that Al Dhahrani, a member of the 1973 parliament and the Speaker of 2002 -2006 and 2006 -2010 lower chambers, should keep the Speakership.

On Wednesday, Al Wefaq said that Khalil Marzouq would be its candidate for the position of First Deputy Speaker and that Abdul Jalil Khalil would head the bloc in the parliament and would be seconded by Jawad Fairuz and Jameel Kadhem. Abdul Jalil would also be the spokesman for Al Wefaq, the society said.

Hours after the final results of the elections were announced, the struggle for influence and power began.

Several independent MPs, feeling empowered by the high number of elected independents, started discussing ways to assert themselves in the lower chamber.

At least 12 of them said that they were ready to forge a bloc that could be turned into an association.



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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