New parliament bloc in Bahrain seeks to narrow sectarian gap

October 10, 2011
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Nine newly-elected lawmakers on Monday announced the formation of a new parliamentary bloc that will make it the second largest in the lower chamber.

The Bahrain Bloc will be made up of MPs from both sects, unlike previous formations, in a move that aims to help boost unity in the country following weeks of deep sectarian divisions caused by widely divergent views on what has happened in Bahrain since February when demonstrations were launched.

Two of the women who were elected in the by-elections, Somayya Al Jowder and Sawsan Al Taqawi, have joined the bloc. Other members of the bloc are Ahmad Al Saati, Jawad Buhusain, Hasan Bukhammas, Abbas Al Madhi, Jamal Saleh, Ahmad Qarata and Ali Al Durazi.

The members said that they would work on solutions to ease the sectarian tensions and ensure better conditions for reconciliation.

Economic developments will also figure high on their agenda, they said.

The bloc said that it had coordinated with the Independents Bloc, the largest in the 40-member lower chamber after Al Wefaq society pulled out its 18 lawmakers, to hold top positions within the various commissions.

The new 18 MPs reached the lower chamber following their elections on September 24 for the first round and on October 1for the second round. The election of three women boosted their number to four, the highest since 2002 when legislative elections were held for the first time following a three0decade constitutional hiatus.

Al Asala, the expression of Salafism, and the Islamic Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, are now the only two societies represented in the lower chamber after Al Wefaq’s pullout.

However, both societies have lost much of the influence they had in the 2002-2006 and 2006-2010 terms to the Independents Bloc, the new force that marked the 2010 elections..

The emergence of the new bloc is set to reduce the remaining power of the two Islamist societies in the lower chamber.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/new-parliament-bloc-formed-1.889276

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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