Bahrain National Dialogue

The National Dialogue’s final session was dedicated to foreign residents. Over sixty foreign residents representing expatriate communities, business associations, religious groups, and cultural organisations sat together to share their thoughts on how to improve Bahrain.

The National Dialogue completed its political discussions with consensus to further enhance the powers of the elected parliament. This concludes discussions under all four themes. A special session will address the foreign residents’ community’s contributions tomorrow.

The residents session which will be held on Monday, July 25 within the national dialogue in the Isa Cultural Centre, will review visions related to communities, foreign associations, religious institutions and public figures.

Participants in the National Dialogue will continue on Sunday, July 24, discussing consensus on a number of political issues to reach an outcome that serves the interests of the country and establishes a solid foundation for political reform that supports the democratic process, for which His Majesty the King laid the foundations.

During the 9th session of the National Dialogue, delegates finalised their discussions under the Rights theme. Dialogue on the Social theme concluded in a previous session. Discussions on electoral constituencies sparked a heated debate, but participants agreed on the need for a fairer system. Delegates achieved consensus on Bahrain’s international human rights commitments and discussed ways of improving government revenues and their redistribution.

Participants in the national dialogue will continue discussing consensus on a number of issues in the dialogue’s main themes on Thursday evening (July 21, 2011) to reach what would serve the interests of the country and to establish a solid base for the reform process as a support of the democracy, for which His Majesty the King laid the foundations.

Bahrain’s National Dialogue has reached ground breaking consensus to increase the powers of the Parliament. Assembled delegates including: MPs, opposition political societies; NGOs and public figures agreed to enhance the Parliament’s democratic scrutiny over the government. This decision gives the Parliament full authority to reject the entire government if they disapprove.

The Chairman of the National Dialogue, Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Dhahrani, has called on the participants of the talks to redouble their efforts to reach agreement.

On the 7th session of talks, delegates discussed a wide variety of political, economic, human rights and social matters. Participants discussed ways to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, and improve living standards through improved healthcare and social justice. Delegates debated the roles and responsibilities of the Shura Council and the Parliament and achieved consensus on a number of points.

In response to widespread reports that al-Wefaq have announced their intention to withdraw from Bahrain’s National Dialogue the spokesperson, Isa Abdul Rahman, stated: “We regret the decision, by any participant, to withdraw from Bahrain’s Dialogue. The process provides an important platform for participants to promote the views and interests of the people they represent.

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