Bahrain National Commission chief resigns

January 1, 2012

Al Saleh (R) with Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa

The head of the National Commission set up by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to supervise the implementation of the recommendations by an international fact-finding commission on the incidents that hit Bahrain has resigned.

“I am no longer able to assume the important responsibility of heading the National Commission and I request Your Majesty to relieve me of chairing the commission,” Ali Saleh Al Saleh wrote in a public letter to the king.

“Following the emergence of voices in mosques and expressions in some newspapers doubting my integrity and targeting my credibility and honour after I reinstated, for humanitarian reasons, four people who had been dismissed from the Shura Council. I reinstated them as the Chairman of the Shura Council, and not as the head of the National Commission,” he said.

On Friday, some religious leaders called for a close monitoring of the commission, claiming that some of its members were abusing their authority to influence its decisions. However, they did not give names or pointed to members.

The calls were printed in the dailies on Saturday, prompting Al Saleh, a former minister and the current head of the upper chamber, to draft his resignation after he felt that he was targeted by the claims.

The formation of the National Commission was among the recommendations presented by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) formed by King Hamad in June to look into the dramatic events that unfolded in Bahrain in February and March and their consequences.

The commission spent four months investigating the sources and consequences of the incidents and released on November 23 a searing report that put to task the government and the opposition and offered a flurry of recommendations to help heal the rift that has fractured the society politically, socially and economically.

Al Saleh, who held the portfolios of commerce, industry and municipal affairs and agriculture and was appointed chairman of the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the bicameral parliament, was named as the head of the 19-member National Commission.

“I have devoted long years of my life in the service of this beloved land and my national contributions are my most treasured possession and my best legacy to history,” Al Saleh wrote in the resignation letter. “I might have done most things right and some things wrong, I might have succeeded in most of what I did and failed in some of it, but I do not regret what I have done and I have never requested anything for me or for my family. I have not done anything that would make my heart and conscience heavy. However, I had the shock of my life and was really stunned by accusations against my integrity and I feel that I can no longer shoulder the responsibility of heading the National Commission,” he wrote.

Al Saleh requested the formation of a committee to investigate his activities since he was elected member to the 1973 parliament until he was appointed head of the Shura Council.

“I am ready to reveal my accounts and those of my family and I will assume the responsibility of any abuses or irregularities, no matter how slight they are, if they are found,” he wrote.



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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