No state funds for ‘deviant’ political societies
Bahrain’s 20 political societies have received 1.5 million dinars (Dh14.52 million) since their launch, the justice minister has said.
The funds are part of a decision taken by the government after the promulgation of the law for political societies in 2005 to assist the formations with extra resources to face financial requirements.
However, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa said that the ministry had stopped giving funds to the societies that had called for “the downfall of the constitution” in reference to the dramatic events that occurred in the country in February and March 2011.
“The funds will not be reinstated and no other amounts will be given to the societies that refuse to take an active role in Bahrain’s political life,” Shaikh Khalid told the parliament.
A lawmaker, Abdullah Al Dossary, had demanded to know how the government was providing financial support to political formations in the country.
“The government support is being given in accordance with the criteria and conditions stipulated in the law. Societies that have deviated from the law and have broken the law do not now receive funds,” the minister said at the parliament session.
Al Dossary and some other MPs have expressed anger that the government gave funds to “societies that have pushed for dividing the country” and wanted specific details about the share received by each of the political formations.
However, the minister on Tuesday gave a general figure, prompting the lawmaker to claim that his attitude was “a smart move that deprived him of the chance to comment further on the issue”.
Bahrain, with a citizen population of around 600,000 people, had 21 political formations in 2012.
However, in June last year, the justice ministry filed a case against the Islamic Action Society (Amal) for “grave breaches of the provisions of the Constitution and laws of the Kingdom of Bahrain, amounting to a complete and total violation of the principles and objectives of legitimate political action”.
The ministry, in its lawsuit, said that the society had “failed to hold a general assembly for more than four years” and that it “did not provide required reports on its financial position, including the submission of a copy of its annual balance sheet as required by the law”.
Amal officials and lawyers rejected the charges, but the Administrative Court dissolved the society in July.
Amal is the direct descendant of the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, the militant organisation whose members were pardoned following political reforms launched by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in 2001.
Amal boycotted the parliamentary elections in 2002, the first to be held in Bahrain following a three-decade constitutional hiatus.