We welcome you to your post and hope that your tenure as Britain’s Foreign Secretary is fruitful and effective. It was interesting to see your recent comments on domestic affairs in Bahrain. We hope that this close interest will continue and for this reason we would like to take a few moments of your valuable time to give you a few further insights about our nation.
Like the United Kingdom, Bahrain is proud to be a monarchy which has decisively chosen the path of political reform and democratization, with a vigourous parliamentary life and healthy public debate about politics.
Bahrain is the state in the region which made most progress in separating religion from politics. Both chambers of Parliament recently voted in support of a bill banning clerics from membership of political societies and involvement in politics. We hope you will agree that this is a positive step in discouraging the exploitation of the pulpit for political gain and a good example to set in a region beset by extremism.
Bahrain’s Constitution furthermore prohibits political activity based on sectarian foundations. We would hope to see the dissolution of all societies which are established on sectarian grounds....
For non-Bahrainis the Kingdom’s political system is often poorly understood. The global media completely ignored recent reforms to separate religion from politics and many people are unaware that Bahrain is a Constitutional Monarchy with a well-developed parliamentary system.
Another unusual factor is the strong public preference for independent elected MPs and a trend towards increasing distrust of political societies. Meanwhile, Bahrain has an open economic climate and does not get the credit it deserves for its cultural and social freedoms.
Constitutional Monarchy committed to reform
Bahrain definitively became a Constitutional Monarchy in 2001, two years after King Hamad came to the throne, when over 98% of Bahrainis voted during a popular referendum in favour of the National Action Charter – King Hamad’s new Constitution....
The benefits of civil society for Bahrain and for you
Why do MPs get blamed for everything?
Citizens all over the world (and perhaps especially in Bahrain) tend to have something of a passive-aggressive attitude to their parliamentary representatives: They mostly ignore them when everything is going well; and then blame them for everything when the going gets tough!
MPs themselves are often guilty of unrealistically raising expectations, with impossible promises at elections time; but then failing to properly engage with the public to explain their role and represent their achievements and failures once they have won their seats....