8 thoughts on “Bahrain’s oppression for people, freedom for corporations

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  8. MPs vote to scrap Manama council

    By Mohammed Al A’ali , Posted on » Wednesday, June 04, 2014

    PARLIAMENT has voted to scrap the Manama Municipal Council and replace it with a Capital Trustees committee made up of 10 investment experts.

    MPs approved the plan yesterday and referred it to the Shura Council, after the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission said the move was not unconstitutional.

    However, the commission added the Capital Trustees committee should be elected from bodies within the community rather than being appointed.

    The Manama Municipal Council, which consists of five opposition representatives and three independents, is one of Bahrain’s five elected municipal councils.

    However, MPs claim it has been sidetracked by politics.

    They accuse councillors of using their seats to promote their political agenda instead of working in the public interest, alleging this has cost Bahrain’s capital several multi-million dinar projects.

    Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel yesterday said the proposal had the support of the government, which had been convinced the capital should operate differently to other regions of the country.

    “The trustees concept is not new,” he said.

    “It is done in Amman, Jordan, and Muscat, Oman, due to the special nature of the capital, which requires a different electoral concept to other areas.”

    MP Abdulhakeem Al Shemmri – who represents an area of Manama covering Salmaniya, Adliya, Segaiya and Mahooz – welcomed parliament’s vote in favour of disbanding the council.

    “As a representative of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) we believe the Capital Trustees would be beneficial to the economy and business, which would in turn benefit Bahrain,” said Mr Al Shemmri, a BCCI board member.

    However, MP Ali Shamtoot – whose Manama constituency includes Sanabis, Karbabad and Seef – described it as a blow to democracy in Bahrain.

    He also argued that residents of the capital were being robbed of their rights.

    “Municipal councillors complement MPs, with each constituency having one elected representatives in parliament and another on the area’s municipal council,” he said.

    “The Capital Trustees idea is a setback for democracy and is not needed in an open country like Bahrain.

    “There is no political tug-of-war and no need to restrict people’s ability to choose who represents them.”

    The Manama Municipal Council’s current vice-chairman, Al Wefaq National Islamic Society representative Mohammed Mansoor, in April described the Capital Trustees plan as “insane”.

    Following yesterday’s vote he claimed it would deny people in Manama equality and the right to select their own representatives.

    “The Capital Trustees would be different from the four other municipal councils, positively or negatively, and that’s wrong,” he said.

    “We would have people practising their political rights to elect or stand as council candidates in the four other governorates, while in Manama they would be forced to choose from options presented by societies.

    “The government has always said it wanted people to continue living in the Capital Governorate, but many will go elsewhere to practise their right to vote openly.”

    He also disputed the minister’s suggestion that systems applied in Amman or Muscat could be replicated in Bahrain.

    “In Amman trustees are a mixture of appointed and elected individuals, while in Muscat the trustees are an independent body that comes under the Sultani Court,” he said.

    “Here we follow the Municipal Law and this decision is clearly not in line with it.”

    Meanwhile Al Wefaq and fellow opposition group National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) held a Press conference yesterday to condemn the decision.

    “The decision to scrap the Manama Municipal Council is not good news and is a wrong move in a democracy,” said Wa’ad president Fadhel Abbas. “This is a wrong decision as it deprives residents of the capital their electoral right. Moreover, it does not contribute to resolving the political crisis in Bahrain.”


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