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Gulf House Issues Political Participation Index: Qatar Achieves Progress, Bahrain's Experience in Steady Regression

2021-10-01 - 2:50 am

Bahrain Mirror: The London-based Gulf House for Studies and Publishing issued the second edition of "The Political Participation Index in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries".

According to the index, the State of Kuwait has maintained its first rank, with a score of 525 out of a total of 1,000 on the PPIGCC, followed by the Sultanate of Oman, which moved up to the second rank, with a score of 449.

With a slight difference, Qatar ranked third with a score of 447, while the Kingdom of Bahrain fell to fourth place with a score of 432.

The United Arab Emirates ranked fifth with a score of 318, followed by Saudi Arabia in the last place with a score of 227.

"While Kuwait - alone - exceeded the 500-point barrier, the rest of the countries are still below that. This indicates an urgent need in all GCC countries to expand frameworks for political participation and decision-making, especially with regard to strengthening and expanding the powers of elected councils, improving electoral laws, promoting equal citizenship, guaranteeing freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the safety of individuals engaged in political activity," according to the index.

The Gulf House said in a comment on the index results "All GCC countries have recorded disappointing results in allowing the formation of political organizations and ensuring the right to political action and the safety of practitioners."

With the exception of Kuwait, it is noted that the rest of the GCC countries are witnessing a noticeable decline in the laws governing general elections and the governance and effectiveness of the elected councils and their powers.

"Bahrain has seen steady regression in parliamentary experience and freedom of political action. Meanwhile, observers are awaiting how the new parliamentary experience in Qatar will unfold," the Gulf House noted.

It has been noted that some Gulf countries (namely UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain) have adopted discriminatory and unfair policies with regard to ensuring the right of their citizens to political participation in the elections of legislative councils, Shura councils, and municipal councils. These policies are based on restrictions and controls defined by nationality laws, exercise of political rights, and regulations of elections in these countries.

"While access to senior positions, leadership and sensitive positions in Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait appears to be monopolized - or almost - by members of the ruling families, both Qatar and Oman are characterized by high access for citizens to these positions," it added.

The Gulf House stressed that "With the exception of Oman, and relatively Qatar and the UAE, the rest of the GCC countries lack laws criminalizing discrimination and policies combating racist and hate speech directed against some sections of the society and expatriates in these countries."

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