Bahrain Shia leader snubs vague reforms
Islam Times - The leader of al-Wefaq, Bahrain's main Shia opposition party, Sheikh Ali Salman has dismissed King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's proposed constitutional reforms as 'unacceptable'.
“Our demand is to elect another government but the government is appointed now for more than 40 years. We demand that the power be in the hands of the people, not people that are elected from the Shura Council that is appointed by the king,” said Sheikh Ali Salman.
“We need an independent judiciary but it is now under the influence of the government. We need equality between the people and the politicians,” the Shia leader reiterated.
Al-Wefaq said in a statement issued on Sunday that the Bahraini people will not stop their demonstrations against the Manama regime until their demands are met.
The statement was issued shortly after King Hamad Al Khalifa proposed constitutional reforms that would allow the parliament to question the ministers without seeking prior approval from the upper house.
The Bahraini monarch's proposal comes at a time that regime forces continue the violent suppression of peaceful anti-government demonstrations in villages and towns across the country.
Under the proposed reforms, the king will have to ask the opinion of the heads of the 40-member upper house, known as the Shura Council, the constitutional court and the lawmakers before dissolving the parliament, instead of only discussing it with the prime minister.
The Bahraini monarch also proposed that the government “gains the vote of confidence if its program is accepted” after a parliamentary debate. He said the move was to give the Bahraini people “a stronger voice” in the government policy.
Bahraini opposition groups demand a full constitutional monarchy where the prime minister would be chosen from the elected lower house.
The 40 members of the Shura Council in Bahrain are appointed by the king.
Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested or fired from their jobs since the beginning of the popular uprising in Bahrain in February 2011.
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