Bahrain’s National Unity Rally turns into political society

June 11, 2011

Bahrain’s National Unity Rally, an umbrella for several political and religious groups and for thousands of Bahrainis, on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to turn into a political society.

In a voting process to determine the future of the Rally, 126 of the 183 eligible to vote said that they wanted it to turn into a political society.

The Rally emerged as a new force on February 21 when mainly Sunni Bahrainis staged a massive rally around Al Fateh Mosque in response to the demonstrations organised mainly by Bahraini Shiites around the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Roundabout, popularly known as the Pearl Roundabout.

Chaired by Abdul Lateef Al Mahmood, a religious scholar, the rally insisted that it was representing the silent majority who would no longer accept to be sidelined or ignored in any deal or agreement between the government and the opposition.

The Rally organised a second rally on March 3 in a sheer display of massive popularity and presented a list of demands that it wanted the government to meet.

Last week, the Rally said that its founders were mulling turning it into a political society to ensure their presence in mainstream politics and institutions.

However, the move waded into controversy after the main Sunni religious and political societies, Al Asala, the expression of Salafism, and the Islamic Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, opposed it, saying that it would defeat the spirit of the Rally and would split ranks.

The two societies, the only ones represented in the lower chamber after Al Wefaq pulled out, had concerns that members would desert them to join the Rally.

Bahrain’s laws ban simultaneous membership of two political societies.



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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