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Al-Balooshi: “If you don’t become lions, you will be eaten by jackals… We must stop dealing with the Government in this way. We are proud of having powers which could bring down the Bahrain Government. Bahraini citizens won’t die if they stop eating meat, but this isn’t about meat, it’s about human dignity… I stand with the Government and I am proud of my loyalty to it, but this Parliament must defend the public”

Member of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs

@Na_albalooshi 

Al-Balooshi is a Sunni cleric who has already demonstrated a tendency to align himself with other Islamist MPs in Parliament. He represents West Eker, Sanad and the south of Isa Town. Al-Balooshi’s Islamist credentials appear to be tempered by a determination to raise issues close to the hearts of local people, like living standards and job creation.

Al-Balooshi is an articulate parliamentary speaker on issues of financial mismanagement and wastage of public funds, often using colourful language to make his point. Although professing his loyalty to the Government, he can occasionally be one of its most bitter critics.

Along with several other Islamist MPs, Al-Balooshi voted against the State Budget during the 2 July 2015 session. During the same session, he was one of seven MPs voting against an increase in the debt ceiling.

Al-Balooshi has loudly supported proposed bills for cracking down on alcohol sales, banning tattoos and for deporting foreign prostitutes.

ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON       

Standards of living, health & education

Benefit payments: During their weekly meeting on 20 October MPs voted in favour of measures to enshrine counter-inflation payments into law and more clearly define who is entitled to them. Al-Balooshi stated that the middle classes and others had come to depend on these payments and the Govt must not halt them.

Good governance & public finance

Subsidies: During the 27 Oct open parliamentary debate on subsidy reform, Al-Balooshi stated: “If you don’t become lions, you will be eaten by jackals… Despite what we say in this session, we know that nothing will change. No benefit can be obtained from talking. We must stop dealing with the Government in this way. We are proud of having powers which could bring down the Bahrain Government. Bahraini citizens won’t die if they stop eating meat, but this isn’t about meat, it’s about human dignity… We deputies are the ones who should be exerting pressure. Some MPs fear talking to the Government in this manner because they fear for their positions, but what happened to the oath which MPs swore? …I stand with the Government and I am proud of my loyalty to it, but this Parliament must defend the public.”

Govt revenue: Al-Balooshi on 1 Nov questioned the Finance Ministry about its strategy for diversifying its revenues away from dependence on oil.

Policing & regional security

Terrorism: Al-Balooshi on 29 July condemned the killing of two policemen in Sitra, saying that terrorists would face the full force of the law.

Saudi Arabia: MPs Jamal Dawoud, Abdulhalim Murad, Nabil al-Balooshi and Anas Buhindi were part of a delegation which visited the Saudi ambassador on 6 October and stressed “complete support and solidarity” for Saudi Arabia.

Rights & freedoms

Tattoos: MPs Abdulhalim Murad, Nabil al-Balooshi, Ali al-Muqla, Jamal Dawoud and Muhsin al-Bakri on 7 November sponsored a bill for outlawing tattoos in Bahrain. The proposal cited the growing number of establishments which produced tattoos for young people. They claimed that the practice of tattooing was un-Islamic and encouraged “young people to distort their bodies with slogans and drawings which conflicted with the Islamic faith”.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Constituents: Al-Balooshi during a visit to his local constituency on 19 Aug emphasized the importance of engagement with local people. He was accompanied by a delegation of municipal officials.

 

ACTIVITY DURING 2014-2015 PARLIAMENT SEASON      

Housing, services & infrastructure

Electricity: On 19 January Al-Balooshi requested from the Energy Ministry additional information on its actions to address unpaid electricity bills. This issue was addressed by the Energy Minister during the 24 February parliamentary session who denied that any companies were excepted from paying energy bills.

Services: During the 31 March parliamentary debate the Minister of Works responded to a question by Al-Balooshi regarding services provision in his constituency. He pledged to accelerate ongoing projects. Al-Balooshi praised the Ministry’s cooperation, but stressed that the area required greater attention.

Housing: On 19 May Al-Balooshi spoke to a Housing Ministry official about accelerating work on housing projects. They discussed ways of addressing waiting lists for housing allocation and other matters.

Standards of living, health & education

Education: During the 24 March open debate on Bahraini teachers Al-Balooshi requested greater cooperation from the Education Ministry in recruiting Bahrainis.

Meat subsidies: During the 26 May parliamentary discussion, a majority of MPs spoke out against the Govt’s plan for halting meat subsidies. Al-Balooshi said: “It’s better for us to resign, instead of failing the people who supported us to reach Parliament.” He added: “Today, citizens aren’t even thinking of meat. Citizens are afflicted by high blood pressure and diabetes”.

Economy & employment

Employment: Al-Balooshi on 23 February questioned the Work Minister about job creation initiatives in his 10th Capital constituency.

Public sector employees: During the 19 May parliamentary session a proposed bill for making the public sector fully Bahraini within five years had to be withdrawn for further discussion after many objections from MPs. Al-Balooshi said that everybody agreed on the need to prioritize Bahrainis, but noted that even states like the US relied on foreigners for certain roles.

Pearl monitoring: During a stormy 10 March parliamentary debate over a bill for privatizing monitoring the quality of pearls and precious stones, Al-Balooshi said that Arab states had a “psychological complex” in valuing foreign labour, saying that preference should be given to Bahrainis.

Tourism: Al-Balooshi on 15 April stated his intention to submit a private bill for developing the Hawar Islands to be a distinguished tourism site. He regretted that previous plans for developing the islands had made no progress.

Good governance & public finance

Public debt: On 25 March, Al-Balooshi rejected rumours that services to citizens could be halted in the light of the decision not to increase the debt ceiling. Al-Balooshi stressed that standards of living was the foremost issue and services should not be put at risk. Al-Balooshi said that standards of living were “a red line”.

Al-Balooshi on 27 April asked the Finance Ministry about the total size of borrowing by Bahrain and the usage of these funds.

Al-Balooshi on 11 May said that Parliament would not agree to further increases in borrowing, apart from under certain conditions, such as “full abidance with the points agreed by the [executive and legislative] branches concerning the Government Action Plan, manifested in the increase of benefits and rights of citizens”.

According to Al-Watan on 14 May Al-Balooshi was one of the 3 MPs told the newspaper that they had not yet made up their minds about how to vote regarding a possible raise of the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.

Wastage: Al-Balooshi has strongly criticized government departments for “continuing to waste and lose public money, which has prevented both the nation’s development and the improvement of welfare to citizens”. (March)

Audit report: During the 14 April parliamentary debate concerning the annual Financial Audit Bureau report, Al-Balooshi cited the Quranic quote “Do not give your wealth to the foolish”. He said that every minister should prepare to be interrogated over wastage of funds and violations, which he said should have been for the poor and widows. “The screams of deputies will not change the reality” he concluded.

Minister interrogation: During the 5 May parliamentary session an insufficient number of MPs voted in support of interrogating the Health Minister over issues raised in the Audit report (23 supported, below the 2/3 quota of 27 MPs).Al-Balooshi voted in favour of the interrogation.

Policing & regional security

Policing: On 2 Feb Al-Balooshi visited security men injured in terrorist attacks, praising their bravery in “standing against those who wish to harm the Kingdom”.

Prisons: After reports circulated about a riot at Jaw Prison on 11 March, Al-Balooshi directed a formal question to the Interior Minister about the incidents.

Saudi-Sweden dispute: Al-Balooshi on 20 March strongly condemned comments by the Swedish Foreign Minister criticizing Saudi Arabia. Al-Balooshi said that Saudi Arabia “is governed by the beautiful shari’ah law which takes care of human rights”.

Iran: During the 24 March debate, MPs issued a statement condemning Iranian interference in Bahrain. Al-Balooshi said: “Iran has occupied four Arab states. If these states matter for anything, the Gulf must declare a mobilization against the Safawis… Iran is the obedient slave to America and loves torturing Arabs”.

Yemen crisis: During the 31 March debate on the Yemen intervention, Al-Balooshi said: “Iran is worthless. Let’s prepare Arab nuclear reactors”.

Egypt security: Following joint Egyptian-Bahraini military exercises on 22 April, Al-Balooshi stressed Egypt’s regional importance in securing regional stability.

Rights, freedoms & religion

Women’s rights: Al-Balooshi was one of a clique of MPs who advocated an allowance for women who refrained from working. Their much-criticized proposal asserted that they should encourage women to remain in the home”.

Usury: In the 17 March debate on Islamic systems of finance for social insurance, Al-Balooshi said: “The first of our priorities must be the fight against usury”.

Quran: During the 17 March parliamentary debate about the proposal for setting up an inquiry committee over the reading of Quranic verses during a talent contest, Al-Balooshi said he had no doubt that the authorities had taken the appropriate measures, “however, we must investigate the origin of this incident and we must increase the number of Islamic studies lessons”.

Exclusion: On 21 March Al-Balooshi praised the Prime Minister’s directive to exclude the Lebanese poet Jumana Haddad. Al-Balooshi said: The Muslim Kingdom of Bahrain should not host those who announce their atheism and who publically call for it, or those who support homosexuals and perversion”. On 22 March Al-Balooshi sent a formal question to the Ministry of Works about plans from the Culture and Tourism Authority for the next four years for cultural events and criteria for hosting foreign cultural figures as well as the size of the budget.

Sexual abuse: During the parliamentary debate on 7 April concerning a new Domestic Violence Protection Law, Al-Balooshi warned that measures to restrict the use of violence against children could break up families, claiming that such legal measures could incite children to take action against their parents.

Youth, culture & sport

Sport: Al-Balooshi was one of 10 MPs who on 16 March proposed an open parliamentary debate to discuss promoting Bahraini sport and athletes.

Youth: During the 12 May parliamentary session around 15 proposals previously submitted by MPs were approved in a series of votes. These included setting up a youth centre in Al-Balooshi’s 10th Capital district.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Walk-out: On 10 February Al-Balooshi participated in a walkout after the head of Parliament refused to discuss media allegations of corruption in the Parliament’s Secretariat General. 

King’s speech response: Improving living standards is the concern of everyone… We want our nation to be a centre for health tourism”. (17 February)

Private members’ bills: During the 7 April session MPs voted to commit the Government to a time limit for implementing proposals submitted by MPs and agreed on by Parliament. Al-Balooshi said “citizens have high expectations” and noted the high proportion of parliamentary time devoted to such proposals.

 

Effectiveness rating

  1. Standards of living, health & education – 4
  2. Housing & services 5
  3. Policing & regional security – 6
  4. Good governance & public finance – 4
  5. Economy & employment – 5
  6. Supporting constituents & youth – 4
  7. Rights & freedoms – 3
  8. Constructive Parliament role – 4
  9. Public visibility – 5
  10.  Progressive/reformist credentials – 2

 

Results of 2014 elections – 10th Capital

Areas covered: West Eker, Sanad and South Isa Town

Housing blocks: 625, 626, 644, 743, 745, 815

Registered voters: 10,046;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 49.4%

First round vote:

 

Nabil al-Balooshi – 877 (19.1%); Ali Ishaqi – 758 (16.5%); Adel Abduljalil – 593 (12.9%), Atiyatallah Al Sinan – 533 (11.6%), Wajih Baqer (Mithaq) – 410, Khalifa Sulaibikh – 328, M. al-Markh – 164, Lulwah Mutlaq (Watan) – 267, Salman al-Saffar – 129, Sumayah al-Jowder – 77, Noura Matouq – 70, Yassir al-Khayyat – 62, Yassir Bukhuwwah – 55, Tariq al-Tamimi – 58, Abdulhamid al-Baqishi – 12

Second round vote:

 

Nabil al-Balooshi – 2151 (56.0%)

Ali Ishaqi – 1692 (44.0%)

 

 

Profile of election campaign: Nabil Abdullah Ali Mohammed al-Balooshi

Nabil al-Balooshi is a local cleric. His campaign emphasizes “justice, dignity and security”. From an early stage Al-Balooshi was singled out by experts as a figure likely to do well in this contest because of his local prominence. As with many clerical figures who have stood in the elections, Al-Balooshi made few attempts to increase his exposure in the media, relying on his grassroots support and access to the pulpit every Friday.

Many people will be disappointed to see none of the three female candidates making it through into the second round, including incumbent MP Sumayah al-Jowder, who gained her seat in the 2011 by-election. Businesswoman Lulwah Mutlaq from Al-Watan Society had also been tipped to do well.

Constituency demographic

This district is an entirely new creation from former districts of the Central Governorate, which has given rise to a broad mix of candidates; including incumbent Sumayah al-Jowder, who formerly represented 1st Central; and the Al-Watan and Al-Mithaq Societies.

Al-Wasat reported the destruction of campaign billboards for numerous candidates in this district. The first round turnout of nearly 50% in this diverse district is certainly lower than many would have wanted, and some pundits were hoping that the intensity of the campaigning between 15 candidates may bring a wider section of the general public out. However, with some localities seeing high support for the boycott and active opposition to the elections process; along with other segments of society expressing their disappointment with the performance of previous MPs, such a statistic is not unexpected.


 

Know your deputy: MPs profiles

Adel al-Asoumi – 1st Capital

Chairman of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-adel-al-asoumi-1st-capital

Ahmed Qaratah – 2nd Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ahmed-qaratah-2nd-capital

Adel Bin-Hamid Abdulhussain – 3rd Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-adel-bin-hamid-abdulhussain-3rd-capital

Abdulrahman Bumjaid – 4th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulrahman-bumjaid-4th-capital

Nasser al-Qaseer – 5th Capital 

Chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-nasser-al-qaseer-5th-capital

Ali al-Atish – 6th Capital

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-al-atish-6th-capital

Osamah al-Khajah – 7th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-osamah-al-khajah-7th-capital

Shaikh Majid al-Asfour – 8th Capital 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-shaikh-majid-al-asfour-8th-capital

Mohammed Jaffar Milad – 9th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-jaffar-milad-9th-capital

Nabil al-Balooshi – 10th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-nabil-al-balooshi-10th-capital

Ali Bufarsan – 1st Muharraq 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-bufarsan-1st-muharraq

Ibrahim al-Hammadi – 2nd Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ibrahim-al-hammadi-2nd-muharraq

Jamal Buhassan – 3rd Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jamal-buhassan-3rd-muharraq

Isa al-Kooheji – 4th Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-isa-al-kooheji-4th-muharraq

Mohammed al-Jowder – 5th Muharraq

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs

Deputy-Chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-jowder-5th-muharraq

Abbas al-Madhi – 6th Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abbas-al-madhi-6th-muharraq

Ali al-Muqla – 7th Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-al-muqla-asalah-7th-muharraq

  

Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 8th Muharraq

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulrahman-bu-ali-8th-muharraq

Fatimah al-Asfour – 1st Northern

Deputy Chairwoman of the Committee for Women and Children

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-fatimah-al-asfour-1st-northern-1

Jalal Kadhim al-Mahfoudh – 2nd Northern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jalal-kadhim-al-mahfoudh-2nd-northern-1

Hamad al-Dossary – 3rd Northern 

Deputy Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-hamad-al-dossary-3rd-northern

Ghazi Al Rahmah – 4th Northern 

Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ghazi-al-rahmah-4th-northern

Ali al-Aradi – 5th Northern

Deputy Chairman of Parliament

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-al-aradi-5th-northern

Rua al-Haiki – 6th Northern

Chairwoman of the Committee for Women and Children

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-rua-al-haiki-6th-northern

Shaikh Majid al-Majid – 7th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-shaikh-majid-al-majid-7th-northern

Dr. Isa Turki – 8th Northern 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-dr-isa-turki-8th-northern

Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 9th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulhamid-abdulhussain-al-najjar-9th-northern

Mohammed al-Ammadi – 10th Northern

Chairman of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-ammadi-minbar-10th-northern

Jamal Dawoud – 11th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jamal-dawoud-11th-northern

Jamila al-Sammak – 12th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jamila-al-sammak-12th-northern

Khalid al-Shaer – 1st Southern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-khalid-al-shaer-1st-southern

Mohammed al-Ahmed – 2nd Southern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-ahmed-2nd-southern

Abdulhalim Murad – 3rd Southern

Second Deputy Chairman of Parliament

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulhalim-murad-asalah-3rd-southern

Mohammed al-Maarifi – 4th Southern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Services

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-maarifi-4th-southern

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 5th Southern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-khalifa-al-ghanim-5th-southern

Anas Buhindi – 6th Southern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-anas-buhindi-6th-southern

Abdullah Bin-Huwail – 7th Southern 

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdullah-bin-huwail-7th-southern

Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 8th Southern 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-dhiyab-al-noaimi-8th-southern

Mohsin al-Bakri – 9th Southern 

Deputy Chairman of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohsin-al-bakri-9th-southern

Ahmed al-Mulla – 10th Southern

Chairman of Parliament

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ahmed-al-mulla-10th-southern

Member of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs

Al-Balooshi is a Sunni cleric who has already demonstrated a tendency to align himself with other Islamist MPs in Parliament. He represents West Eker, Sanad and the south of Isa Town. Al-Balooshi’s Islamist credentials appear to be tempered by a determination to raise issues close to the hearts of local people, like living standards and job creation.

Al-Balooshi is an articulate parliamentary speaker on issues of financial mismanagement and wastage of public funds, often using colourful language to make his point. Although professing his loyalty to the Government, he can occasionally be one of its most bitter critics.

Along with several other Islamist MPs, Al-Balooshi voted against the State Budget during the 2 July 2015 session. During the same session, he was one of seven MPs voting against an increase in the debt ceiling.

Al-Balooshi has loudly supported proposed bills for cracking down on alcohol sales, banning tattoos and for deporting foreign prostitutes.

ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON       

Housing, services & infrastructure

Standards of living, health & education

Benefit payments: During their weekly meeting on 20 October MPs voted in favour of measures to enshrine counter-inflation payments into law and more clearly define who is entitled to them. Al-Balooshi stated that the middle classes and others had come to depend on these payments and the Govt must not halt them.

Economy & employment

Good governance & public finance

Subsidies: During the 27 Oct open parliamentary debate on subsidy reform, Al-Balooshi stated: “If you don’t become lions, you will be eaten by jackals… Despite what we say in this session, we know that nothing will change. No benefit can be obtained from talking. We must stop dealing with the Government in this way. We are proud of having powers which could bring down the Bahrain Government. Bahraini citizens won’t die if they stop eating meat, but this isn’t about meat, it’s about human dignity… We deputies are the ones who should be exerting pressure. Some MPs fear talking to the Government in this manner because they fear for their positions, but what happened to the oath which MPs swore? …I stand with the Government and I am proud of my loyalty to it, but this Parliament must defend the public.”

Govt revenue: Al-Balooshi on 1 Nov questioned the Finance Ministry about its strategy for diversifying its revenues away from dependence on oil.

Policing & regional security

Terrorism: Al-Balooshi on 29 July condemned the killing of two policemen in Sitra, saying that terrorists would face the full force of the law.

Saudi Arabia: MPs Jamal Dawoud, Abdulhalim Murad, Nabil al-Balooshi and Anas Buhindi were part of a delegation which visited the Saudi ambassador on 6 October and stressed “complete support and solidarity” for Saudi Arabia.

Rights & freedoms

Tattoos: MPs Abdulhalim Murad, Nabil al-Balooshi, Ali al-Muqla, Jamal Dawoud and Muhsin al-Bakri on 7 November sponsored a bill for outlawing tattoos in Bahrain. The proposal cited the growing number of establishments which produced tattoos for young people. They claimed that the practice of tattooing was un-Islamic and encouraged “young people to distort their bodies with slogans and drawings which conflicted with the Islamic faith”.

Youth, culture & sport

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Constituents: Al-Balooshi during a visit to his local constituency on 19 Aug emphasized the importance of engagement with local people. He was accompanied by a delegation of municipal officials.

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