Manama: King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Monday hailed the success of Sawsan Al Taqawi in reaching the lower house of the bicameral parliament as a new achievement for women in Bahrain.
On Sunday, Sawsan was declared winner of her constituency in the legislative by-elections scheduled for September 24 after her opponents pulled out of the race.
She is only the second woman to reach the lower house since elections were held in 2002, following a three decade constitutional hiatus.
"This success is the result of the progress achieved by Bahraini women in all areas and their participation in the nation's overall development and their determination to contribute to building the future of the country," King Hamad said in a cable of congratulations to the new lawmaker.
In a brief press conference, Sawsan, the first Shiite not member of Al Wefaq society to reach the lower house since 2006, said that she had not decided whether she would join any of the blocs in the lower chamber.
"I need to look into all the blocs and see whether our views and methods converge before I make any decision," the former director at the General Organisation for Youth and Sports (Goys) told the media.
Bahrain is scheduled to hold the legislative by-elections in two weeks to elect the 18 lawmakers who will replace the former representatives of Al Wefaq society who pulled out of the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament in February to protest against the way the authorities dealt with protestors in February.
Women have been unsuccessful in their bids to reach the lower house or the municipal elections.
In 2006, Lateefa Al Gaood made history by becoming the first woman in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to win in a parliamentary election after running unchallenged in her constituency in the Southern Governorate. Lateefa reiterated her win in 2010 after she again ran unchallenged in the quadrennial elections.
In October, Fatima Salman achieved a new feat after she became the first woman to be elected to a municipal council.
None of the major religious societies has ever fielded women candidates in any of the three parliamentary elections held in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
The upper chamber of the parliament whose 40 members are appointed by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa has 11 women, including Nada Haffadh, the former health minister.
Bahrain has two women ministers, Fatima Al Beloushi in charge of human rights and social development as well as health and Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa who has the culture portfolio.
Manama is represented in Washington, London and Beijing by three women ambassadors.