Purpose behind Parliament Internal Regulations Amendments: King Says He's Boss

2022-11-08 - 5:38 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Royal Decree issued on October 23, 2022, which amended the internal regulations of the House of Representatives and added thereto, may serve as an invitation to Bahrainis, both pro-opposition or loyalist alike, to reflect on the future of the political process that has existed in Bahrain since 2002.

It is a decree that does not stand out in a period when Arab democratic experiences are collapsing and being combated, especially in the Arabian Gulf

According to the equation of Saudi and Emirati dominance over the Bahraini decision-making process, the effects of this royal decree seem to be in line with this joint hegemony.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi oppose the continuation of elected parliaments in the Gulf region, as the Saudi media a short while ago was attacking the Kuwaiti parliament and accusing it of disrupting Kuwait's development and economic projects. The UAE, for its part, is uncomfortable with the Kuwaiti model, but changing or disrupting it may be much more difficult than the Bahraini model.

In March, "The Atlantic", an American magazine, published an interview with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in which it plainly asked him about the constitutional monarchy. Can this happen in the future of Saudi Arabia?

The Saudi crown prince's response was clear: "No, this will not work. The constitutional monarchy will not succeed. Saudi Arabia was founded on an absolute monarchy."

This brings to mind the Wikileaks cables (06 MANAMA 1599) which stated that "Bahrain's King Hamad, during an August 31 discussion with the US Ambassador, noted Saudi Arabia's fear of Bahrain's reforms. The ambassador quoted the king as saying that the Saudis watch with concern the democratic reform steps that Bahrain has taken." In an another cable (05 MANAMA 71), the Bahraini Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa was more clear in speaking about the issue as he linked the difficulties in Bahraini-Saudi relations to the "pace of political and economic reform process in Bahrain," indicating that "Saudis don't want to feel that they are falling behind. This explains, he said, "why the Saudi government has taken several steps that impact negatively on Bahrain."

As for the UAE, the last thing to expect from its leaders under the leadership of Mohammed bin Zayed is democracy. The UAE has waged its war against democracies in Tunisia and Egypt, and has successfully quelled these experiences in partnership with Saudi Arabia. So the Bahraini experience, though very bad, is the easiest thing that can be finished off by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

The king, for his part, prioritizes his own interest and the interest of his family's rule. He clearly sees that the demands of the region, specifically from the two most important capitals supporting him, require driving the Bahraini parliament into a state of "clinical death". Therefore, the process of shattering the foundations of the recognized parliamentary process has been carried out through this decree, and the Parliament has been turned into a mere Shura council.

Since at least 2012, the king has come to the conviction that he is not forced to participate in any decision with any popular party, and prefers to proceed with his projects and leading the country as he and the ruling family see fit, just as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi do.

It is safe to say that this decree, issued on October 23, 2020, is like admitting the parliamentary process to the intensive care unit, not for treatment but for choosing the moment to announce its official death. Indeed, it no longer suits both sides, neither the king on the one hand, nor the opposition on the other, but rather suits the aspirants and utilitarians who seek quick wealth and personal interests.

With the new decree, one should be aware of what the king really wants. He doesn't want to leave room for interpretations or explanations. He is reproducing the country based on the policy of unilateral governance and full takeover of all authorities, leaving no room for any breach or loophole from which the people can escape now or in the future. With the existence of laws of political isolation and their expanded implementation, the king controls the electorate and then the candidates, as well as the parliament, whose presence or lack thereof makes no difference. How can any sane person accept to take part in such a farce!

Arabic Version