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Bahrain: Constitutional Amendments Issued

(May 24, 2012) On May 22, 2012, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had hailed constitutional amendments issued by the monarch of Bahrain. The amendments had first been enacted by the Parliament, an elected institution, and the Shura Council, an appointed body, of Bahrain. (Saudi Arabia Hails the Constitutional Amendments Issued by the King of Bahrain [in Arabic], ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (May 22, 2012).)

Under the new constitutional amendments, the King of Bahrain will be required to consult with the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief of the Shura Council before he is able to dissolve the Parliament. Furthermore, under these amendments, the Parliament, acting alone, has the right to pass a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister and submit the matter to the King, who is the final authority to decide on whether to dismiss the Prime Minister or allow him to remain in office. (The King of Bahrain Approves Constitutional Amendments and the Opposition Continues Its Protest [in Arabic], FRANCE 24 (May 3, 2012).)

These amendments, however, did not meet the opposition demands to have an elected government and abolish the Shura Council. The King of Bahrain, a member of the Sunni Muslim faith, governs a country the majority of whose inhabitants are of the Shiite Muslim faith. (Id.)

To date, the Constitution of Bahrain as posted in Arabic on the official website of the Bahraini Parliament has not been updated to reflect the enactment of any amendments since its adoption in 2002.