Bahrainis Urged to Unite Efforts for National Charter
Bahrainis were urged Monday to set aside the past and work towards the implementation of a 'National Charter' which would turn Bahrain into a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and an appointed Shura council, reported the Gulf News daily, quoting Prime Minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Khalifa, as saying.
The prime minister reiterated his support to Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's moves for constitutional changes and to modernize the institutions.
He said a "yes" to the charter is "yes" to a prosperous future and a united approach is essential as Bahrain is passing through a crucial period in its history as the island is about to witness important developments."
The charter, which also calls for an independent judiciary, an attorney general and a public accountability council, was approved last month by the supreme national committee, said the daily.
It added that the charter will be submitted to a public referendum to provide an opportunity for people to express their opinion.
Bahrain introduced an elected parliament in 1973 but it was dissolved in August 1975 for "obstructing" the government.
The mainly Shiite Muslim opposition has campaigned for its restoration, sparking unrest that cost at least 38 lives between 1994 and 1999.
The troubles eased after Sheikh Hamad succeeded his father as emir in March 1999.
Bahrain has had an appointed consultative council of 40 members since 1992.
In September, a new list included for the first time a Jew, four women, one of them a Christian, and a businessman of Indian origin, said AFP.
Kuwait is the only other Gulf Arab monarchy to have an elected parliament, although women do not have the vote.
Manama newspapers have said women would be given the vote in Bahrain, reported the agency -- Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)