2022 Portfolios: Dissolution of Khalifa bin Salman's Wing, Formation of New Government, A Change in Form Not in Substance
2023-12-07 - 3:38 p
Bahrain Mirror (2022 Portfolios): On June 13, 2022, Bahrain witnessed the most significant ministerial reshuffle in its history, led by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad, who heads the government. This reshuffle marked the elimination of the wing associated with the late Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman, along with the removal of most ministers aligned with the Khawalids, notably Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali and Oil Minister Mohammed bin Khalifa, the son of the Field Marshal.
These changes represent a continuation of the process of dismantling Khalifa bin Salman's wing that began months after his passing. It commenced with a quiet directive to remove his images from all government ministries and entities. Subsequently, his daughter's husband, Rashid Al Khalifa, Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry for Nationality, Passports, and Residence Affairs, was dismissed from his position. Following these moves, other government changes removed several officials associated with him.
The June 2022 government reshuffle involved the replacement of 11 ministers and the appointment of 13 new ones. Three MPs associated with the prime minister were dismissed: Ali bin Khalifa, the son of the former prime minister, Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, and Jawad Al-Areed. were removed. Additionally, the veteran minister Mohammed Al-Mutawa', along with others, representing remnants of Khalifa bin Salman's wing, were ousted.
The new government brought a change in appearance, being the first government since independence to reduce the seats held by the Al Khalifa family to four, including the prime minister. It also included, for the first time, nine ministers from the Shia community.
However, the substance of this government lineup remained unchanged. The Shia community continued to lack control over sovereign ministries with real significance. Sovereign portfolios were distributed between the ruling family (Interior and Finance) and the Sunni community (Defense and Foreign Affairs). Shia loyalists appointed were not granted any sovereign portfolio.
Of particular note in the content of this lineup is the retention of Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa in his position. This practically indicates the King's decision and the Crown Prince, who's the Prime Minister, commitment to maintaining the repressive approach in the country.