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Sunday, 28 September 2014





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Bahrain set to hold parliamentary elections

26 Sep GMA

Bahrain's king says the country will hold parliamentary elections on November 22, despite ongoing protests against the ruling Al Khalifa family.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa urged eligible voters to elect members of the 40-seat Council of Representatives, the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported Monday.Bahrain's main opposition party, al-Wefaq, has not announced whether or not it will participate in the upcoming elections.In 2011, al-Wefaq withdrew 18 of its representatives at the parliament after a deadly regime crackdown on Shia protesters demanding reforms in the country.

The Bahraini opposition has been demanding the formation of a constitutional monarchy, an independent election commission, as well as the appointment of a prime minister by parliamentary majority instead of the king.

Al-Wefaq is also seeking the dissolution of the upper chamber of parliament, or the Consultative Council, which has the power to block legislation by the lower house.Bahrain's National Assembly is made up of two chambers. The lower house has 40 elected members and the upper house has 40 members appointed by the king.

The Bahraini opposition has attended two rounds of national dialog since 2011 to find a political solution to more than three years of protests in the country. Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for political reforms.Shia Muslims comprise the majority of Bahrain's population. They have, however, long complained about being discriminated against by the Bahraini regime when it comes to employment opportunities and the right to services.


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