Bahrain set for major reforms initiative
Manama, May 3, 2012
Bahrain is set to take a major step forward in its reform process today (May 3) when His Majesty King Hamad officially approves 19 constitutional amendments backed by parliament and Shura Council.
Ministers, businessmen, community leaders, members of political societies and women's and youth groups who took part in last year's National Dialogue are expected to attend the event at the Sakhir Palace.
'The approval of the constitutional amendments is a step forward by vesting parliament with more power, which will reflect demands of the citizens,' said former Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) secretary-general Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi.
'For example, if there is a government programme that is presented to parliament, elected members have the right not to approve it. They have the right to question ministers in parliament on different issues which further shows transparency.'
The BHRS member, who participated in the National Dialogue, said things were improving, but added people would always expect more.
'It is natural in any democracy that requirements or demands by the people, NGOs will be more, but these constitutional amendments I believe is a step forward for better Bahrain,' he said.
Another Dialogue participant, economist Dr Yousef Mashal, said King Hamad was set to approve constitutional amendments that were among the visions made by close to 300 people from all sections of society during last year's event.
'This is a major change and a new page written by His Majesty King Hamad in democratic reforms that was started by the National Action Charter,' he said. 'These amendments will increase the power of parliament to question or remove ministers.'
Mashal, who has been invited to today's ceremony, said the amendments was a positive sign of the leadership's commitment to continue its reforms. It will help citizens monitor the performance of their elected members in parliament, including their right to question ministers,' he said.
'This would reduce the severity of political conflicts and shows that system of government in Bahrain is democratic, where people are source of power.'
Female MP Dr Somaya Al Jowder added the amendments would help them function more efficiently for the welfare of voters.
'There is no doubt that His Majesty is committed to the reform process and is doing everything that is good for the nation and citizens,' she said. 'This should be looked as an evolving democracy as we are having amendments in a short time which is a good sign of achievement.' – TradeArabia News Service