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Politics of Bahrain


Politics of Bahrain takes place since 2002 in a framework of a constitutional monarchy where the government is appointed by the King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The head of the government since 1971 is Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and the Crown Prince is Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who serves as Commander of the Bahrain Defense Forces. The parliament is a bi-cameral legislature, with the Chamber of Deputies elected by universal suffrage, and the Shura Council appointed directly by the king. MP Khalifa Al Dhahrani is the Speaker of Parliament.


Executive branch

According to Article 32 (b) of the 2002 Constitution, "executive authority is vested in the King together with the Council of Ministers and Ministers". The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) is appointed directly by the King (Article 33d).

Bahrain has had only one Prime Minister since the country's independence in 1971, Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, the uncle of the reigning King Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifah.

As of 2010, roughly half of the cabinet ministers have been selected from the Al Khalifa royal family, including the Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs.

Legislative branch

According to Article 32 (b) of the 2002 Constitution, "legislative authority is vested in the King and the National Assembly.

The National Assembly is bicameral with the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, having 40 members elected in single-seat constituencies by universal suffrage for a four year term.

The upper house, the Shura Council, has 40 members appointed by the King of Bahrain.

Among the members of the current Shura Council are representatives of Bahrain's Jewish and Christian communities as well several women legislators.

The speaker of the National Assembly is from the appointed Shura Council.

All legislation must be passed by a majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Shura Council, and must be ratified by the King.

Political parties and elections

For other political parties see List of political parties in Bahrain. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Bahrain.

Although no legal framework for political parties after MPs rejected legislation for their establishment, de facto political parties operate and are known as 'political societies'.

Judicial branch

The Judiciary of Bahrain is divided in to two branches: the Civil Law Courts and the Shari'a Law Courts.

The Civil Law Courts deal with all commercial, civil, and criminal cases, as well disputes related to the personal status of non-Muslims.

The Shari’a Law Courts have jurisdiction over all issues related to the personal status of Muslims.

Judges of the middle and lower courts are nominated by the Ministry of Justice and appointed by decree by the prime minister.

The Supreme Judicial Council, chaired by the King, appoints the members of the Constitutional Court.

Many of the high-ranking judges in Bahrain are either members of the ruling family or non-Bahrainis (mainly Egyptians) with 2-year renewable contracts.

To secure renewal of these contracts, judges may be prone to consider it necessary to take decisions not unfavourable to the wishes or interests of the Government.