Bahrain parliament scraps 20 proposals
Manama, June 25, 2014
A raft of parliamentary proposals had to be scrapped in Bahrain as the final session of parliament's four-year legislative term descended into farce.
It began with first vice-chairman Abdulla Al Dossary asking chairman Dr Khalifa Al Dhahrani to drop 20 proposals from the schedule, claiming that discussing them would be a waste of time, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Two MPs balked at this suggestion - saying that all 20 could be voted on within 15 minutes - but Al Dossary scoffed that it would take at least two hours.
"In 2010 we stayed here until midnight," said parliament services committee vice-chairman Adel Al Asoomi.
"So why not approve these proposals and then the ball is in the government's court; if they decide to reply it is up to them, but we have done our job."
Public utilities and environment affairs committee chairman Hassan Al Dossary added that it would be "unfair" to discard the proposals, as parliament's committees had spent up to 18 months studying them.
"It is unfair that we throw them out like this while we approve other urgent proposals that are not studied or looked into, within seconds of submission," he said.
Dr Al Dhahrani referred the issue to a vote and 11 MPs decided to scrap the proposals, 10 voted for them to be discussed and five abstained.
At this apparent vindication of his initial assertion, Abdulla Al Dossary said to Al Asoomi and Hassan Al Dossary "you are welcome, sit down" - but they shouted back that he should go home.
Following this outburst, arguments broke out across the chamber and Dr Al Dhahrani had to bang his gavel several times before he was able to regain a modicum of order.
Later, in protest at the shelving of the 20 proposals, a majority of MPs abstained at a vote on two government-drafted bills - one focused on amendments to the domestic violence law and another concerned with a draft law about the use of assisted reproductive technology in Bahrain.
Both will now have to be discussed in December and MP Dr Jamal Saleh, who had originally proposed both bills, was seen exiting the chamber in disgust.
However he did return, saying that he had "never missed a session" and was "here to continue serving the people until the last second".
Twenty MPs later moved for the 20 scrapped proposals to be reinstated, but Dr Al Dhahrani rejected this on the basis that parliament's internal by-laws do not allow for it.
Out of the 42 MPs supposed to be in the chamber during yesterday's session, 10 submitted official apologies for their absence and an additional four were absent without any explanation.
Part of the reason why so many proposals were left until parliament's final session yesterday is because of absenteeism on the part of MPs.
The current parliament, which started its term in 2010, has been plagued by absenteeism - resulting in several sessions being suspended or cancelled as a result of members failing to show up or disappearing early. - TradeArabia News Service