Bahrain Opposition

Was it a Silent Majority or is it now a Loud Minority?

Introduction
  This short presentation does not intend to look in depth into the political situation in Bahrain, but rather look into answering the following:
  What kind of “democracy” is on the ground in Bahrain?   What is the representation of the opposition in the 3 branches of government (legislative, judiciary & executive)?   What powers does the Parliament possess in Bahrain?   How much does the opposition actually represent from the fabric of the Bahraini society? And how much is its representation in Parliament?

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Assumptions & Sources
  This study & numbers were based on figures extracted from:
  www.alwasatnews.com/elections (for 2010 population & electorate)   www.vote.bh (for 2010 voting figures)

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  Main assumptions
  The fabric of the Bahrain society is such that opposition and pro-government populace are seen in same districts, but remain proportionately well drawn.   The 40 electoral district composition in Bahrain in 5 governorates strictly draws the line between opposition and pro-government populace (except for 3 contested districts, as will be clear hereafter)   This conservative approach, hence results, works best for pro-government representation understating opposition figures, but still does not affect the main results and conclusions.

The Bahrain Parliament
  The King remains the head of all branches of government (legislative, judiciary & executive).   The Parliament is composed of two houses:
  Upper House: Shura Counsel   Lower House: House of Representatives

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  The two houses comprise of 40 members each, with the lower house being an elected one, and the upper house appointed by the King.   Draft laws leave the lower house to the upper one, and must then be signed by the King. In case of disagreement between the two houses, the Parliament (both houses) holds a joint session to discuss the draft, which in the event of agreement must still be signed by the King.   In all cases, the King can rule the country via Royal Decrees, bypassing both houses of Parliament.

Current Opposition Representation in Parliament
The Legislator
Opposition representation in Parliament

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KING

Parliament

Shura Counsel (40 APPOINTED Members) House of Representatives (40 ELECTED Members)

Opposition representation in Lower House

Gerrymandering: Bahrain Governorates
1. Capital

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3. Muharraq

4. Northern 2. Central

Opposition

Pro-government

* Percentages represent % out of Bahrain population, electorate & house of representatives in each governorate for progovernment and opposition respectively.

5. Southern

Gerrymandering: A more overall look
  In the two most populated governorates - Northern & Central -, which happen to be opposition strongholds, the representation in the lower house is 18% less than what it should be compared to the electorate.   The Southern governorate, a progovernment stronghold is overrepresented by 10% in the lower house, as is the case with pro-government representation in Muharraq and Capital governorates (by 3% each).   This misrepresentation overall in Bahrain gives the opposition 45% only of the lower house, when in fact it represents at least 60% of the electorate.

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Opposition

Pro-government

Electoral Districts: 1. Muharraq
  In a mainly pro-government governorate, the number of electorate per electoral district is mostly below the average electorate per district in Bahrain. This also applies to the average population per district.   The Muharraq governorate is over-represented by only 1% in the lower house of Parliament.

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Electoral Districts: 2. Capital
  The Capital governorate is mainly opposition dominated, and is the second least populated governorate in terms of electorate, with all the districts being below the average population and electorate figures in Bahrain.   Therefore, the Capital governorate is over-represented by 8% in the lower house of Parliament.

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Electoral Districts: 3. Northern
  The Northern governorate is the opposition stronghold, and is the most populated governorate in Bahrain. All districts are well above the average population and electorate figures per district in Bahrain (except for District 4, which is a progovernment district).   Hence, this governorate is under-represented by 11% in the lower house of Parliament.

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Electoral Districts: 4. Central
  The Central governorate is an evenly split governorate in terms of populace political affiliations, and the second most populated governorate in Bahrain.   The opposition-dominated districts in this governorate are the most populated, which makes the opposition in this governorate under-represented by at least 7%.

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Electoral Districts: 5. Southern
  The Southern governorate is a pro-government stronghold and the least populated governorate in Bahrain, with all of its districts well below the average population and electorate per district figures of Bahrain.   This makes this governorate over-represented by 10% in the lower house of Parliament.

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Conclusions
  From the brief analysis of both the legislative process in Bahrain, the structure of the legislative branch of government and the clear gerrymandering in the drawing of electoral districts, the following can be concluded: 1.  The democratic process in Bahrain falls short of proper representation; with the people having a say in only half the legislative and NO say in the judiciary nor executive branches of government. 2.  The opposition represents at least 60% of the population, but is represented by 45% of the House of Representatives, and 22% of the Parliament. 3.  The “February 14th Uprising” is a consequence of a Previously Silent Majority speaking up for its Rights

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Thank You

For more Information
Contact Us: Bahrain.Politics@gmail.com

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