Muslim Brotherhood Unwillingly Announces not Running in Parliamentray Elections

2022-10-13 - 1:24 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Muslim Brotherhood, represented by Al-Menbar Islamic Society, announced that none of its members has applied to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections. 

Despite the Muslim Brotherhood's messages sent to governing bodies expressing their hunger for parliamentary seats, the Royal Court message to them was: We do not want you to currently participate in the Parliamentary elections.

So what is going on between the authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain? This is the second parliamentary session from which the Mulsim Brotherhood candidates are absent.

In 2014, Al-Menbar Society head Ali Ahmed announced that he would not run in the elections. This was the Royal Court's beginning of the decision to abandon the Muslim Brotherhood, as the court was relying on the support of Sunni society, including the Brotherhood, in its crackdown campaign against the opposition that calls for democracy.

The Muslim Brotherhood entered the 2014 parliament with a small bloc represented by Mohammed Ismail Al-Emadi and Abdulhamid Al-Najjar as well as independent faces affiliated with it, but in 2018 the situation changed completely with the leadership of Emirati influence within the corridors of the ruling family, also taking into account the Emirati mood. The Muslim Brotherhood was; therefore, pressured to change its statutes, which actually happened. The General Assembly of the Muslim Brotherhood held a meeting in March 2018 in which it amended its statutes, the purpose of which was to ensure that the society pledges not working with the global Muslim Brotherhood organization. 

Indeed, this amendment was added to the statutes, as Article IV set forth that "the Society shall exercise its activities in accordance with the provisions of the National Action Charter and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain and respect the rule of law. The Society shall not be organizationally or financially linked to any non-Bahraini entity. It shall not direct the activity of the society upon orders or directives from any foreign state or third party." The amended statute was adopted by the Minister of Justice.

In June 2018, the Brotherhood's Al-Naba newspaper was dissolved and liquidated 6 months after it stopped being published. 

Before the elections began, the Royal Court informed the society of its unwillingness to nominate any of the society's members in the parliamentary elections, which actually happened.

As for the Salafist current represented by Al-Asalah Islamic Society, it was allowed to continue to enter the elections provided that Abdelhalim Murad and Ibrahim Bu Sandal do not run in the elections, which Al-Asalah agreed to. Therefore, Ali Zayed was given the position of Second Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and was so obedient to the authorities, that he and his colleagues voted in favor of increasing VAT on citizens.

Regarding the upcoming elections on November 12, Al-Menbar was willing to return, and it showed this through a seminar held last June in which Ali Ahmed and others spoke, but all of this disappeared with the message that the society received from the Royal Court: We do not want you to participate in the Parliamentary elections.

Consequently, Al-Menbar Secretary-General, Mohammed Ismail Al-Emadi, came out on the 21st of September, to officially announce that none of the society's members will run for elections. 

Al-Emadi was forced to issue such a statement, as he spoke in his speech about what he called "the society's support for the reform project of His Majesty the King since its inception and for the political, electoral and democratic process in the country, as well as its keenness to preserve political gains and develop the parliamentary experience." However, he announced at the end that they will not run in the elections.

His statement read as follows: "The General Secretariat of the society has not received any request from its members regarding parliamentary and municipal candidacy, and accordingly, the Al-Menbar so far has no candidates for the upcoming elections."

Is there a party in the world that supports a parliamentary experience, yet does not want its members to reach parliamentary seats? This is impossible, but it is the Royal Court's orders, and out of the Brotherhood's dedication to preserve its gains in influence, positions and many government jobs enjoyed by its affiliates, not to mention the benefits its leaders received earlier. It obeyed orders and waited to receive a green light from the Court.

The issue is not over yet, as the Muslim Brotherhood is not so naïve, Al-Emadi included in his statement a message to the government, saying, "We participated with candidates in all the parliamentary elections held from 2002 to 2018. The results and figures of these elections have clearly shown that the society has a popular base that cannot be ignored and that (Al-Menbar) represents an important current in the political process."

He says you can't ignore us, and then declares that the society "will participate in the electoral process by voting for candidates they deem the most competent."

Al-Emadi revealed that "the society has received many requests from independent candidates requesting (Al-Menbar) support in the parliamentary and municipal elections," meaning that the society will not submit an official list for it, but in practice it will enter the elections in an indirect way, through the game of supporting independent candidates, but in fact they are their affiliates and fully coordinate with it.

Will the court's message change for some reason, and will Al-Menbar Secretary-General take his statement back and present his list of candidates for the elections? Perhaps, as Al-Emadi specified in his statement that it's "until this moment".

This summarizes the current reality of the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain, until the moment of writing this report.

Arabic Version