Gulf | Bahrain

Bahraini lawmaker stirs controversy

A Bahraini lawmaker has become involved in controversy after he said that the oath he took was not on the 2002 constitution, but on an older version.

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 00:00 March 6, 2007
  • Gulf News

Manama: A Bahraini lawmaker has become involved in controversy after he said that the oath he took was not on the 2002 constitution, but on an older version.

Dr Abdul Aziz Abul, an independent candidate who has strong backing from Al Wefaq, Bahrain's largest political society, said on Saturday that when he took the oath for parliament last December in which he pledged allegiance to the constitution, he meant the 1973 constitution.

His statement was immediately denounced by deputies from Al Asala, the second largest parliamentary bloc at the Council of Representatives, as "illegal" and "warranted investigation."

Former deputy Fareed Gazi, a lawyer, said in a press statement yesterday that Abul should be made to take the oath a second time, because he had violated the constitution.

"According to Article 78 of the constitution, a deputy takes the oath according to the law regulating the exercise of political rights. Abul did not abide by this article and should be made to take the oath again," Gazi said in a statement to the press.

"Should he refuse the new swearing- in, elections should be organised in his constituency," he said.

Al Wefaq deputy Jalal Fairuz earlier this year said that when he took the oath, he mentally and emotionally meant the 1973 constitution and not the present one.

Amendment

Bahrain in 2002 amended the constitution as part of a series of reforms and constitutional changes that saw the country turn from an emirate into a constitutional monarchy with Shaikh Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa becoming the first King of Bahrain.

The constitution also called for the formation of a bi-cameral parliament made up of an elected 40-member lower house and an appointed 40-member upper house.

But the constitution has been challenged by several opposition figures who said that it gave sweeping powers to the appointed Shura Council and limited the prerogatives of the lower house, and called for a nationwide discussion of all its articles.

Abul who headed the Constitutional Congress, a loose alliance of political societies calling for amendments to the constitution, said that his election to the lower house on December 2 did not mean that he had changed his position and that the swearing-in was on the old constitution.

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