Bahrain ministries accused of double standards

January 12, 2011

A parliamentary member of the Shura Council, the upper chamber, has accused ministries of adopting a double standard policy in their dealings with the two chambers of the bicameral parliament.

“We have ministries that present one opinion or view to the lower chamber, but a totally different one to the upper chamber,” Dalal Al Zayed said.

“This is not a healthy sign and disrupts the legislative work and puts off the enactment of laws,” she said during a debate on a children’s draft law at the parliament.

Dalal made the unprecedented charge after she disagreed with Fatima Al Beloushi, the social development minister, over the procedures to draft a law to protect children in Bahrain.

According to Al Beloushi, one of two women ministers in Bahrain’s government, there had not been enough contacts between the ministry and the parliamentary committee involved in the drafting of the law.

“It seems that this draft is the first to be prepared by the women and children parliamentary committee, so the head of the panel may have overlooked some procedures in dealing with the ministry. There are specific observations and discussion points for every meeting,” Al Beloushi said.

However, her comments prompted Dalal, a lawyer by profession, to say that she did not appreciate the accusations.

“I would like to share some of the pains we suffer as members in the upper chamber. Many officials prefer to lapse into silence when they discuss a draft law with members of the lower chamber, but become vociferous when they sit with us in the upper chamber and start pressing for cancellations or amendments to the draft,” Dalal said.

“When we ask the officials to explain their double position, they say they opt not to comment when they are with the lower chamber lawmakers in the hope that we in the upper chamber will make the amendments they want,” she said, before highlighting how Al Beloushi adopted two different positions on the children’s draft law.

“I am really sorry that the minister has accused us of not following the right procedures. This position towards members of the Shura Council has unfortunately now become common among our fellow citizens who believe that our role is to stand up to lower chamber MPs and resist them. Officials want to cast us in the role of making the amendments they want to any draft, but I can stress that the Shura Council will endorse only moves that protect and bolster the interests of Bahrain and its people,” said Dalal, one of the 11 women appointed to the upper chamber by King Hamad in November 2010 following the quadrennial parliamentary elections.



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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