Bahraini businessmen plan parliament push
Manama, August 6, 2014
Bahrain’s business leaders want to form a greater proportion of MPs in the next parliament, to boost its stock of economic knowledge and business acumen.
Around 30 prominent members of the country's business community, including five businesswomen, have expressed their intention to stand for election this year - a move welcomed by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) officials, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"It is good news that more businessmen are showing interest in running," said BCCI chairman Khalid Almoayed.
"If this happens, I foresee more economists in parliament in the next session.
"With businessmen coming to the parliament, we will have some legislators who are economists - which can be helpful to the business community as MPs who possess an understanding of economics will be helpful in many aspects, especially on the laws that support businesses."
Outgoing MP and current BCCI first vice-chairman Othman Al Rayes, who represented Muharraq Governorate's eighth constituency in Hidd, said that more representatives coming from a business background will help foster economic stability.
"I hear that many businessmen are planning to contest, and I hope to hear confirmation in the coming days," he said.
"It is indeed beneficial for the business community - and the country as whole - if we can have more businessmen representing people in the parliament.
"When it comes to the age-old laws that govern the trading sector, businessmen MPs will have a better understanding of them and will be supportive of ratifications and amendments that will be beneficial to businesses.
"This will directly help the economic stability of the country."
Al Rayes told the GDN that he was not seeking re-election, after serving two non-consecutive terms in parliament from 2002 to 2006 and from 2010 until the present day.
"I have served my country and tried my best to be the voice of my voters during my two terms and now I have decided not to recontest as I believe in change," he said.
Meanwhile, Anatolia Restaurant Company and Farah Cake Factory owner Wajeeh Baqer confirmed that he would be contesting a seat in the hopes of representing the Central Governorate's fifth constituency, which covers Nuwaidrat and parts of Sanad.
"Businessmen in parliament can bring about change that would add to people's quality of life and make a positive impact on the economy," said the 58-year-old, who has been in business for almost four decades.
"Businessmen are more aware of the legal aspects of the trade segment, which can make an impact."
Investor and contractor Mohammed Alma'arefy, who intends to stand in the Central Governorate's eighth constituency covering Riffa, Ma'ameer and Nuwaidrat, said the good of the country must come first and foremost on everyone's agenda.
"Especially after the crisis, as we are recovering, it is important that we work hand in hand for the growth of Bahrain," said the 65-year-old, who lost to incumbent MP Ali Zayed in the 2010 election.
"Last time it was fresh experience, but now I am better experienced and understand my area, my voters and their needs better," he added.
"My priorities are Bahrain, the youth, children and women's empowerment, while housing is also an important issue to be addressed in my locality."
Textile trader Mahmood Al Namlaiti is undecided on which constituency he wants to represent within the Capital Governorate, but is adamant that he will run for election to help give Bahrain's business community a better say in parliament.
"The legalities related to business need to be settled with the future in mind and only businessmen have an idea about these," he said.
Namlaiti, who was unsuccessful in getting elected to the BCCI board in February, said he was hopeful to make it into parliament on his first attempt.
Other possible candidates from the business community that have yet to formally announce their candidacy include outgoing MPs Hassan Bukhammas, Isa Al Kooheji and Abdulhakim Al Shammary and fellow businessmen Adel Al Safar and Kadhem Al Sayed.
The GDN reported last month that three out of the six female candidates that plan to stand for election this year are businesswomen - namely Naeema Al Balooshi, Golden Trust president Dr Lulwa Al Mutlaq and Daskalides director Huda Radhi. - TradeArabia News Service