17 Bahrain lawmakers to perform Haj
Almost half of the elected lawmakers will be performing Haj this year, days ahead of the official opening of the last annual sessions of their four-year term.
A report in a local daily said that at least 17 of the 40 members of the lower house of the bicameral parliament, including Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani, will be in Makkah next week for the start of the Haj season.
All four members of Al Asala, the expression of Salafism in Bahrain, will perform the fifth pillar of Islam that requires all physically fit and financially able Muslims to go on Haj at least once in their lives.
Two members from the Islamic Menbar, the other Islamist society represented in the lower house, will also be in Makkah.
Several independent representatives also told Al Ayam daily that they planned to perform Haj this year and some of them have already posted their pictures in Makkah on their social media accounts.
Although the number of lawmakers going on Haj this month is high, it does not compare with those of the 2006-2010 Parliament dominated by Islamist societies Al Asala, Al Menbar and Al Wefaq when up to 28 lawmakers performed Haj, forcing a recess of the parliament that lasted between three and four weeks.
Last year, the opening session was held in early October, but working sessions started in November.
However, this year and for the first time, the Haj season comes ahead of the first session of the parliament scheduled for October 23 by a royal order.
Bahrain revived full parliamentary institutions in 2002 when the first legislative elections were held under reforms launched by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa who assumed power in March 1999 on the death of his father.
Parliamentary elections were subsequently held in 2006 and 2010. By-elections were held in 2011 after the lawmakers representing Al Wefaq resigned in February.
The next nationwide elections are expected to be held next year.
Municipal elections in the five governorates of the kingdom were also held in 2002, 2006 and 2010.