Government appointment monopoly
The constitution, promulgated by Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, unilaterally, in February 2002, grants the king powers similar to those of the English king nearly eight centuries ago. The king almost monopolizes all powers, presides over all of them, and controls their joints. As “the king appoints the prime minister and relieves him from his post by royal order” (Article 33 / D), and without consulting the parliamentary blocs or any other party in the country, according to the “royal decree” the “head of state” is granted powers that cannot be returned or argued. ! This differs from the method followed in the constitution of the State of Bahrain (1973), which the king unilaterally repealed in early 2002.
According to Article 33 / b of that constitution (1973), the appointment and dismissal of the prime minister takes place “after traditional consultations,” which is a loose phrase, and it does not show a commitment to the king to include political forces in consultations to form the government, but this paragraph opens a door for political forces To argue about it. In order to consecrate the king as a single sovereign, that paragraph of the 2002 constitution was canceled. As for the appointment of ministers, it is assumed that it takes place “based on the nomination of the prime minister,” according to the constitution of the State of Bahrain, not just his proposal, as in the constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The difference is clear between the nomination and the offer!
In fact, the weakening of the prime minister was among the main concerns that appeared with the king when writing the 2002 constitution. The constitution was drafted to give King Hamad a great power in the face of any other position in the state, whether the ruling wings, the legislative institution, or the government, taking into account the marginalization that The Prime Minister practiced it against his nephew, Hamad, who was crown prince, without powers, for three decades, except for those related to the military establishment. The army enabled King Hamad to leap unchallenged at the top of power, after the death of his father, Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, in March 1999.
Of course, the constitution was drafted, on the other hand, to prevent the formation of a strong parliamentary institution and a council of ministers competing with the king, just as it had to establish the cabinet during the rule of the former prince, Isa, throughout the last quarter of the twentieth century. Currently, we find that the king “presides over the cabinet sessions that he attends” (Article 47 / B), and controls the executive work. The government, from the viewpoint of the palace, does not formulate policies but rather implements them, in a country based on the principle of a “presidential system”, according to the concept of minors, The king orders, and the cabinet executes. One of the most prominent demands of the suppressed 2011 protest movement, which called for “a government that represents the popular will instead of the appointed government,” was the requirement to include the parliamentary institution in the cabinet.
Monopoly appointing half of the members of Parliament
“The king appoints the members of the Shura Council and relieves them by royal order” (Article 33 / and Article 52), meaning that the palace has the powers to appoint half of the members of the legislative institution. When defining “Parliament,” there is a fallacy that many overlook, by repeatedly talking about the fact that Parliament is equal to Parliament. In fact, the existing constitution of 2002 speaks of a parliament consisting of eighty members, divided into two chambers: a room called the House of Representatives, made up of forty “elected” members, with an emphasis that the “election” hypothesis needs to be placed in the circle of accountability. Another room is called the Shura Council, which is also made up of forty members, and these are appointed by the king, and they have legislative powers similar to those enjoyed by the members of the House of Representatives. Under the domination of the palace, which is above that alone has broad legislative powers!
Controlling the electoral process
In addition to the fact that the king controls the appointment of half of the members of Parliament, he controls the electoral game, by dominating the issuance of “orders to hold elections for the House of Representatives” (Article 42 / A), while an independent body is supposed to supervise and organize the electoral process. Thus, while the members of the Representative Council are supposed to be elected by secret ballot, it is clear that this assumption is deceptive. The entire electoral process is adapted, starting with the provisions of the laws that regulate the elections, passing through the authority overseeing them, and ending with the palace’s monopoly on the engineering of polling stations, its interference in the financing of electoral campaigns, the selection of candidates, and then the victory of one candidate over another.
The palace does not tire of talking about Bahrain as if it were a Westminster democracy
Given the authorities’ control over the inputs to the electoral process, the elections have turned into a game with predetermined results. There are almost countless evidences of government intervention, including the artificial defeat of the government, which was inflicted on the late national leader Abdul Rahman Al-Nuaimi in exchange for Isa Abu Al-Fath (2006), or in the ouster of 37 MPs, most of them loyal, who were members of Parliament in 2014, and their renewal was not completed despite Their participation in the elections – at a time when the major opposition associations (Al-Wefaq) boycotted – and the support they showed for the various demands of the government, thus it appears that the elected council is being appointed many of its members. In practice, the access of loyal political forces such as the Salafists and the “Brotherhood”, or the opposition such as Al-Wefaq, to the House of Representatives has been prevented or reduced, and the independents have become the backbone of the governing parliament.
Controlling the convening of Parliament
Well … after the formation of the Parliament, which is made up of 40 appointees and 40 of them are elected in a pre-conditioned process, the two chambers remain incompetent, or untrustworthy, from the viewpoint of the palace. Therefore, the king insists on personally deciding to “invite the National Assembly to convene by royal order, and open and close the sessions,” whether they are ordinary or extraordinary (emergency) roles, in accordance with Articles 75 and 67 of the 2002 Constitution. Parliament does not have the right to convene, And the right to determine when legislative roles will be dissolved, except by order of the king, despite all the prior fortifications that prevent the building of a strong popular legislative institution.
We know that “the term of the House of Representatives is four years,” but “the King may extend the legislative term to the House of Representatives when necessary, by royal order, for a period not exceeding two years”! Of course, the concept of necessity is stretched, and its interpretation is in the hands of the king, or at best in the hands of the Constitutional Court, which also consists of “a president and six members appointed by royal order”! (Article 106), so it is not envisaged that its decisions will contradict the whim of the one who appointed it, namely the king, who presides over all of the above the Supreme Judicial Council, and “appoints judges by royal orders” (Article 33 / H).
Despite the almost absolute legislative and executive powers the king enjoys, “his person is inviolable and inviolable” (Article 33 / A)! But the palace does not tire of talking about Bahrain, as if it is a Westminster democracy, when in reality it is a dictatorship that has given up its gloves and convinced it.
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