Middle East

Bahrain Sunnis make up for election loss

barain-prince-khlifaBahrain’s king reinstates key officials in his Sunni-led government in the wake of parliamentary polls, which robbed the Sunnis of their parliamentary majority.

On Tuesday, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah retained Prince Khalifah bin Sulman Al Khalifah and Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad Al Khalifah respectively as his premier and foreign minister, AFP reported.

Two rounds of general elections in late October gave the Shias 18 seats, helping them to secure a majority in the 40-member parliament  together with the victorious independent candidates.

A total of 127 candidates contested the event.

The returns came as a surprise to the Sunnis, who had dominated the last two parliaments, as well as the Al Khalifah family, which has ruled the Persian Gulf kingdom since 1783.

The Shias prevail the country’s demographic pattern. They have, however, for long complained about being discriminated against by Manama, when it comes to employment opportunities and the right to services.

The elections were preceded by the state’s suppression of the Shia opposition figures, who refuse to recognize the 2002 constitution and had called for an electoral boycott, and human rights activists.

Amnesty International has criticized Manama over the pre-election crackdown.

The Human Rights Watch and the Project on Middle East Democracy — a non-profit body with the stated aim of promoting democratic standards in the region — have also taken note of the campaign of suppression ahead of the polls.

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