Al-Ghanim: “Current levels of benefits to needy families provided by the Development Ministry are insufficient to fulfill the basic preconditions for a comfortable lifestyle. These must be increased”

Al-Ghanim:“The Government has worked hard to establish constructive and fruitful interaction and cooperation with Parliament which represents the will of the nation”


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

Member of the Rotten Meat Investigation Committee (established Feb 2015)

Member of the Committee for Women and Children




Along with several other MPs from the Southern constituencies, Al-Ghanim is a staunchly loyalist figure, basing his legitimacy on grassroots local popularity, and hesitant to speak out on controversial issues. However, along with the majority of other MPs, he has been outspoken in criticizing the Health Ministry’s new fees for non-Bahraini workers.

Al-Ghanim has been increasingly finding a voice in addressing social issues, such as increasing support for pensioners, addressing drug abuse and regularizing educational qualifications. Al-Ghanim has spoken out about the need to increase social benefits to low income families.



Standards of living, health & education

Education: Al-Ghanim on 5 Sep spoke about the importance of improving education standards, particularly among those training to be teachers. He noted the importance of a good moral upbringing for young people, while warning of the potential harmful role of the social media in shaping how young people viewed their education.

Projects: Al-Ghanim on 2 Sep praised the “qualitative leap” in service projects in his constituency, particularly new health centres.

Economy & employment

Good governance & public finance

Subsidies: Al-Ghanim on 16 July called on the Prime Minister to definitively halt proposed measures to remove food subsidies, in order to find an alternative which would not negatively impact citizens.

On 14 Sep, Al-Ghanim stressed the role of MPs in monitoring price rises resulting from subsidy reforms, in order to protect consumers. He warned that the compensation payments to citizens would be squandered as a result of price inflation.

Policing & regional security

Terrorism: Al-Ghanim on 9 July said that the “takfiri ideology” had no place in Bahrain. He praised the role of the security forces in combatting terrorism. Al-Ghanim on 29 July condemned the killing of two policemen in Sitra. Al-Ghanim on 10 Aug called on people not to be seduced into following those calling for discord and engaging in incitement. Al-Ghanim on 15 Aug stressed Bahrain’s solidarity with Kuwait in standing against acts of terrorism. Al-Ghanim on 29 Aug strongly condemned the Al-Karranah bombing which killed one policeman.

Iran: Al-Ghanim on 23 July condemned statements by the Iranian leadership concerning Bahrain, which he described as interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs. Al-Ghanim said that these “desperate attempts were doomed to fail”.

Yemen: Al-Ghanim on 4 Sep extended his condolences over the deaths of 5 Bahraini soldiers and other GCC troops in Yemen.

US: On 9 Sep Al-Watan newspaper canvassed MPs’ views about US “interference” in Bahrain. Al-Ghanim criticized the role of US media organizations in harming Bahrain’s reputation, questioning the sources of funding of these outlets.

Rights & freedoms

Women: Al-Ghanim praised the role of the Supreme Council for Women, in enhancing women’s role in society. (24 Aug)

Youth, culture & sport

Youth: Al-Ghanim on 30 July called for the acceleration of the youth centre project in his constituency.

Scholarships: Al-Ghanim on 27 July said that the exploitation of the scholarship issue by the opposition was an attempt to harm Bahrain’s reputation.

Technology: Al-Ghanim congratulated the Prime Minister on 7 Aug for his awarding of a technology and economic development prize.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Parliament: Al-Ghanim on 10 July called for MPs to stand together to protect the acquired benefits of citizens and in order to overcome the economic difficulties of the current period. He noted the differing voting patterns of MPs regarding the Budget vote, which Al-Ghanim said demonstrated the independence and freedom of expression of MPs, which he said benefitted Bahrain. Al-Ghanim praised the Govt’s transparency in addressing Budget issues with MPs, which won over the support of many and helped Parliament better understand the challenges.

On 25 Sep Al-Ghanim conducted an extensive interview with Al-Watan newspaper. He praised the record of the Parliament so far in addressing aspirations of citizens and noted the close cooperation between MPs and ministers. He cited the role of MPs as “correcting” the work of the Govt when “it deviated from the legal texts” and denied that there was a contradiction between MPs’ oversight role and their role in addressing local services. He called for the Govt to do more to provide facilities and training for young people. He said: “The Government has worked hard to establish constructive and fruitful interaction and cooperation with Parliament which represents the will of the nation.”



Housing, services & infrastructure

Services: On 12 January, Al-Ghanim spoke out about the need for improving roads and health services.

Events hall: During the 12 May parliamentary session around 15 proposals previously submitted by MPs were approved in a series of votes. These included setting aside land for an events hall in Al-Ghanim’s 5th Southern district.

Construction: Al-Ghanim’s questions about designation of lands in his constituency for construction projects were replied to by the Minister of Works during the 19 May parliamentary session. The Minister made further clarifications about designations of various areas for housing, for conservation or for other use.

Residential: Al-Ghanim called for a royal grant, giving the land adjoining people’s homes in Rifaa to the residents themselves.

Town planning: Al-Ghanim on 2 June proposed a centre for planning, regarding towns, villages and building standards.

Standards of living, health & education

Health fees: Al-Ghanim (17 February) criticized the Ministry of Health’s fees imposed on foreign workers saying “the Ministry knows that this decision will increase hardship on Bahraini workers, especially owners of small businesses”. Al-Ghanim claimed that because the responsibility fell on Bahraini businessmen, the fees were a violation of the constitution’s promise of free healthcare for Bahrainis.

Education & health: Al-Ghanim on 22 May proposed establishing a fund for covering health and education costs for families.

Pensioners: Al-Ghanim in a private bill on 18 April called for a study of the living conditions of Bahrainis who were not entitled to a retirement pension in order to help the authorities to take measures to address their needs.

Benefits: Al-Ghanim on 29 April called for greater transparency in the allocation of social support. He urged greater support for pensioners, the disabled, widows, divorcees and the poor. He said that current levels of support don’t meet the most basil levels of need.

Al-Ghanim during the 12 May parliamentary session stressed the need for greater fairness and transparency in providing social benefits to families. He spoke after the Minister for Social Development had responded to a question from him in which he called for social support to increase for low income families. He said that current levels of benefits to needy families provided by the Development Ministry are insufficient to fulfill the basic preconditions for a comfortable lifestyle. These must be increased.”

Drugs: Al-Ghanim on 2 May warned that a GCC report showed around 51% of students in the early phases of secondary school had experimented with drugs. Al-Ghanim called for mandatory testing of students.

Qualifications: Al-Ghanim on 30 April formally proposed a review of educational qualifications.

Rotten Meat Committee: Al-Ghanim on 9 May said that during the Committee’s visit to a major slaughterhouse, much useful information had been gained regarding meat imports. Al-Ghanim said that the Committee had visited a veterinary centre on 30 May as part of a programme of visits to investigate the meat import issue.

Meat subsidies: During the 2 June open parliamentary debate on planned subsidy cuts, Al-Ghanim said that the meat subsidies issue was dominating public debate, including in the social media. Al-Ghanim said: #We have a responsibility before God and the electorate who stood alongside us through the darkest times. We must stand together and not accept any decision which adversely accepts the lives of citizens and their living standards.” He said that MPs agreed on the need to reduce expenditure, but not in a manner which harmed citizens.

Economy & employment

Foreign workers: During the 3 March parliamentary debate on the so-called “free visa” system”, blamed small businesses for relying on cheap foreign labour.

Foreign teachers: Al-Ghanim was one of 6 MPs on 16 March who proposed an open debate about the Government’s policy on recruiting foreign teachers.

Firemen: Al-Ghanim on 2 June proposed providing life insurance for firemen, given the dangers of their job.

Oil: Al-Ghanim on 12 April tabled a question to the Oil Minister about a project for oil pipelines between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The Oil Minister on 9 June responded to questions by Al-Ghanim regarding a proposed new oil pipeline. The Minister said that this could increase production by 230-350 million barrels per day.

Fishing: During the 19 May parliamentary debate on the fishing industry, Al-Ghanim complained about the harm done by foreign workers who threw waste in the sea.

Good governance & public finance

Audit report: During the 14 April parliamentary debate concerning the annual Financial Audit Bureau report, Al-Ghanim praised the authorities for their seriousness in addressing violations and bringing culprits to justice and stressed the role of Parliament in monitoring the wastage of public funds.

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-Ghanim abstained.

Debt ceiling: According to Al-Watan on 14 May Al-Ghanim was one of the 20 MPs who said that they would give conditional support to raising the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.

Budget: Al-Ghanim on 18 May submitted a note to the Chairman of the Finance Committee stressing the need to ensure sufficient allotments in the Budget for healthcare, education and housing.

Policing & regional security

Yemen crisis: During the 31 March Yemen debate, Al-Ghanim said “the hands seeking to meddle in Arab affairs should be stopped, we support a joint Arab force”.

Terrorism: In a 8 June statement responding to the arrests of the Iran-sponsored Al-Ashtar Brigades, Al-Ghanim stressed that the terrorist mentality was foreign to Bahrain.

Rights & freedoms

Justice: Al-Ghanim on 16 April proposed a “hotline” advisory service for the Justice Ministry to provide urgent advice on legal issues.

Monarch: Al-Ghanim on 21 May in a statement praised the selection of the King of Bahrain by the Arab Creators Union as the Best Arab National Personality for 2015.

Environment: On 7 JuneAl-Ghanim called for tougher measures to deter those whose actions harmed the environment.

Youth, culture & sport

Youth: On 6 June Al-Ghanim called for a national strategy to benefit from the energies of young people, for example in helping them make better use of their time during school holidays and in exploiting their creative skills.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Public engagement: Mohammed al-Maarifi and Khalifa al-Ghanim on 2 June jointly spoke about parliamentary efforts for improving the performance of the Education Ministry, ensuring the prioritization of citizens’ aspirations for citizens, and improving benefits for pensioners. Their comments came during a parliamentary public event.


Effectiveness rating

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



Results of 2014 elections – 5th Southern

Areas covered: West Riffa, Haniniyah, Bukuwarah

Housing blocks: 901, 903, 905, 910, 925, 927

Registered voters: 8,788;   Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 85.4%

First round vote: 

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 2196 (30.3%); Fawzia Zainal – 2095 (28.9%); Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab (Asalah) – 1774 (24.4%); Adel al-Rowaei – 725 (10.0%); Nayef al-Jassim – 431 (5.9%); Mohammed Qarratah – 37

Second round vote:

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 3505 (52.1%)

Fawzia Zainal – 3217 (47.86%)



Profile of election campaign: Khalifa Abdullah Mohammed al-Ghanim

The success of Khalifa al-Ghanim’s campaign seems to be down to his ability to reach out to his grassroots support base, attending dozens of local meetings. Al-Ghanim received little media coverage and his Twitter account gave little away. Al-Ghanim denied  that he was affiliating himself with Mithaq. His rival Fawzia Zainal was never out of the media and was one of the more vocal candidates in the contest in advocating her policy positions on standards of living, supporting the family and promoting the role of women. Few expected Al-Asalah’s Abdulrazzaq al-Hattab to fail to make it into the second round.


Constituency demographic

This is a fiercely loyalist district in the ruling family’s heartland of Riffa. However, even here, voter participation cannot be taken for granted and candidates have had to reach out to younger voters, the professional classes and more disenfranchised sections of the electorate. Boundary changes for this recently-expanded district and those in the vicinity mean that previous assumptions about favoured candidates in this area didn’t necessarily apply, forcing candidates to work harder to win over a broader demographic of supporters.The remarkable first round turnout of over 85% shows how successful candidates were in mobilizing support and encouraging political engagement.



Know your deputy: Profiles of other Bahrain MPs

Adel al-Asoumi – 1st Capital

Ahmed Qaratah – 2nd Capital

Adel Bin-Hamid Abdulhussain – 3rd Capital

Deputy-Head of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

Abdulrahman Bumjaid – 4th Capital

Nasser al-Qaseer – 5th Capital 

Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

Ali al-Atish – 6th Capital

Osamah al-Khajah – 7th Capital

Shaikh Majid al-Asfour – 8th Capital

Mohammed Jaffar Milad – 9th Capital

Nabil al-Balooshi – 10th Capital

Ali Bufarsan – 1st Muharraq 

Head of Committee for Youth and Sports

Ibrahim al-Hammadi – 2nd Muharraq

Jamal Buhassan – 3rd Muharraq

Isa al-Kooheji – 4th Muharraq

Head of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

Mohammed al-Jowder – 5th Muharraq

Abbas al-Madhi – 6th Muharraq

Ali al-Muqla – 7th Muharraq


Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 8th Muharraq

Fatimah al-Asfour – 1st Northern

Deputy Head of the Committee for Women and Children

Jalal Kadhim al-Mahfoudh – 2nd Northern

Deputy Head of Committee for Youth and Sports

Hamad al-Dossary – 3rd Northern

Ghazi Al Rahmah – 4th Northern 

Deputy Head of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment

Ali al-Aradi – 5th Northern

Deputy Head of Parliament

Rua al-Haiki – 6th Northern

Shaikh Majid al-Majid – 7th Northern

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

Dr. Isa Turki – 8th Northern

Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 9th Northern

Deputy Head of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People

Mohammed al-Ammadi – 10th Northern

Head of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People

Jamal Dawoud – 11th Northern

Head of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment

Jamila al-Sammak – 12th Northern

Head of the Committee for Women and Children

Khalid al-Shaer – 1st Southern

Head of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

Mohammed al-Ahmed – 2nd Southern

Abdulhalim Murad – 3rd Southern

Second Deputy Head of Parliament

Mohammed al-Maarifi – 4th Southern

Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Services

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 5th Southern

Anas Buhindi – 6th Southern

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

Abdullah Bin-Huwail – 7th Southern 

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

Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 8th Southern

Mohsin al-Bakri – 9th Southern

Ahmed al-Mulla – 10th Southern

Head of Parliament


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