Bahrain’s lower chamber elects Abdullah Al Dossari as first deputy speaker

April 6, 2011

Bahrain’s lower chamber on Tuesday elected independent MP Abdullah Al Dossari as its first deputy speaker.

Al Dossari who beat his namesake Hassan Al Dossari by 11 to 10 margin, replaces Khalil Marzouq, former MP for Al Wefaq who resigned in February alongside his 17 fellow bloc members to protest against the way the government handled the first eviction of the Pearl Roundabout, the epicentre of demonstrations launched on February 14.

The lower chamber last week accepted the resignation of 11 Al Wefaq MPs and deferred its decision on the remaining seven to another date. However, none of the 11 members showed up at the weekly session.

Following the resignations, the lower chamber is now proceeding with only 22 members, including Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani, who does not vote unless there is a tie.

The sitting MPs pushed through a motion to hold the leaders of political societies and trade unions that reportedly “incited employees to strike and participate in acts of civil disobedience” legally accountable and refer their cases to the public prosecutor. However, the motion will have to be endorsed by the government to move forward.

According to reports, several dozens of people, mainly working in Bahrain’s largest companies in the petroleum, aluminium and communication sectors have been sacked for their alleged role in the political turmoil that hit the country.

Several high school and university teachers have also been dismissed while 66 students lost their overseas scholarships after they reportedly took part in protests and called for the downfall of the regime. “It is unconceivable to have the authorities spend around $200,000 on a student for his or her scholarship and see them take part in rallies calling for the downfall of these very authorities,” an education ministry official said.

The spokeswoman for the Information Affairs Authority said at a press briefing that Al Wasat newspaper, one of the five dailies in Arabic, has been referred to the public prosecution for possible legal action after an investigation found that some of the news reports it published were fabricated.

The daily was suspended for one day, but the ban was lifted after its board reportedly discharged the editor in chief, Mansour Al Jamri, the editor, Waleed Nuwaihedh, and local news editor, Aqeel Mirza. Obaidli Al Obaidli who has a regular column in Al Wasat was named as the new editor-in-chief.
Under Bahrain’s 2002 press law, both the journalist who publishes a “controversial” report or column and the editor in chief of the daily are liable for prosecution.

With dramatic developments unfolding at a dizzying speed in the region, two foreign ministers landed in Manama.

Shaikh Mohammad Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Kuwait’s top diplomat, arrived on a brief visit for talks with King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa and Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said.
Shaikh Mohammad was also scheduled to inspect the Kuwaiti Navy unit stationed in Bahrain under the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), invited into the kingdom under a GCC agreement to “help maintain peace and security.”

Iran, the across the Gulf neighbour, has sharply criticised the presence of the Peninsula Shield units and has repeatedly called for their withdrawal, likening them to an occupation army.

However, the Iranian call and the criticism of the Saudi and Bahraini governments for the presence of the units was strongly slammed by the GCC foreign ministers and the GCC secretary-general on Sunday evening.
“The GCC clearly demonstrated to the international community that it operates as one block in confronting challenges and risks,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa,

Bahrain’s foreign minister, told Kuna on Tuesday.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, also arrived in Manama for talks with Bahrain’s leaders and his counterpart, Shaikh Khalid.
“The latest developments in Bahrain and the region as well as bilateral relations between Turkey and Bahrain will be assessed during Davutoglu’s talks,” a Turkish statement said.

Turkey, wary of a conflict that could pit Sunnis against Shiites, has been playing a significant role in seeking an appeasement of the situation in the region.

Last week, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first Turkish prime minister to make a trip to Najaf, visited Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, the most powerful Shiite figure in Iraq, at his place and spoke with him for almost an hour.”
“He probably thanked him for his efforts against sectarian conflict and asked that he be more sensitive to the threat spreading across the region,” Turkey’s Al Zaman daily reported.

Davutoglu is scheduled to proceed to Damascus following his talks in Bahrain.



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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