Bahrain’s lower chamber accepts Al Wefaq’s remaining resignations

May 17, 2011

Bahrain’s lower chamber on Tuesday accepted the resignations of the remaining seven lawmakers representing Al Wefaq.

The acceptance of the resignations leaves the elected lower chamber with only 22 MPs, but the development will not have any effect, as the summer recess will start on May 20.

Al Wefaq was up to the end of February the largest bloc with 18 MPs, all elected in the legislative elections in October.

The overwhelming victory enabled Al Wefaq to improve its 2006 score by one MP and to hold the post of first deputy speaker.

However, the bloc in February presented its resignation to protest against the way the authorities dealt with demonstrators at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Roundabout, known popularly as the Pearl Roundabout.

The decision to resign was taken during a vote by the MPs and was not unanimous, Al Wefaq source told Gulf News.

However, the other MPs initially rejected the resignations and gave time to the society to reconsider its stance.

In March, the lower chamber accepted the resignations of 11 Al Wefaq lawmakers and deferred its decision on the other seven.

Rescind resignation

On Sunday, Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani addressed a public letter to the seven MPs to rescind their resignation.

With the last session of the first of four terms on Tuesday, the MPs voted to accept the resignations of the remaining seven.

By-elections to replace the 18 MPs will be held on September 24 for the first round and on October 1 for the second round in case a constituency cannot decide on a clear winner on the first day of the voting.

The lower chamber has been traditionally dominated by religious figures belonging to the Islamic Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Asala, the flagship of Salafism, and Al Wefaq, the major expression of Shiism in Bahrain.


Al Wefaq boycotted the 2002 elections, held after a three-decade constitutional hiatus, but dominated the polling in 2006 and 2010. Al Menbar and Al Asala had their peak days in the 2006-2010 term, but suffered major blows in the 2010 elections in which independent candidates became the second major parliamentary force in the country.

However, throughout the three elections, women have fared badly and only Lateefa Al Gaood broke the social blockade to win twice in 2006 and 2010, a glorious comeback after her defeat in 2002.



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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