The skyline of Manama city, capital of Bahrain. Image Credit: Istockphoto

Manama: Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa has appointed 40 members, including a Jew and a Christian, to the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the bicameral parliament, keeping 31 names and introducing nine.

The appointments were made days following the quadrennial legislative elections to vote in the 40 members of the Council of Representatives, the lower chamber.

Both chambers will convene on December 12 for the opening of the new parliamentary term during which King Hamad addresses the nation.

The appointments announced on Sunday evening kept Ali Saleh Al Saleh as the chairman of the Shura, a veteran politician who has headed the Shura since its second term in 2006. The first new format Shura Council was appointed in 2002 following the promulgation of the constitution that stipulated a bicameral parliament.

Jamal Fakhroo, another veteran figure who was the first deputy chairman in the outgoing Shura, and Jameela Salman, the second deputy chairwoman, were also re-appointed.

The first deputy in the outgoing Council of Representatives, Ali Al Aradi, who did not run in the legislative elections last month, was among the nine figures who were appointed.

“I look forward to the new responsibility and I ask God to assist me to rise up to the trust of HM the king and the people of Bahrain,” he said.

Three women, Ibtisam Al Dallal, a dentist, Mona Al Moayyad, the chairwoman of the Bahrain Businesswomen Society, and Sabeeka Al Fadhel replaced three other women, Zahwa Al Kawari, Samia Al Moayyad and Sawsan Taqawi, keeping the number of women in the Shura at nine.

The six men who left the Shura are Ahmad Bahzad, Jassem Al Mihzaa, Khalid Al Musallam, Saeed Abdullah, Dhiya Al Mousawi and Ali Eisa.

The presence of nine women in the Shura in addition to the six elected to the Council of Representatives meant that women now represent 18.75 per cent of the 2018-2022 parliament, up from 15 per cent in the 2014-2018 term.

Hala Ramzi Fayez and Nancy Khedoury represent the Christian and Jewish components of the pluralistic Bahraini society.

Women MPs list:

Sawsan Kamal, Maasooma Abdul Kareem, Zainab Abdulamir, Fawzia Zainal. Kaltham Al Hayki, Fatma Al Qatari, Ibtisam Al Dallal, Jameela Salman, Jihad Al Fadhel, Fatma Al Kooheji, Dalal Al Zayed, Mona Al Moayyad, Hala Ramzi, Nancy Khedoury and Sabeeka Al Fadhel.