Bahrain. On February 14, Emir Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa
proclaimed Bahrain a constitutional monarchy and himself as
The first local and parliamentary elections of almost 30
years were held during the year. Women were allowed to run
for the first time, but none of the 31 women who ran in the
May 9 local elections were elected. Islamic parties won
two-thirds of the 50 seats in five local assemblies.
In the October 24 parliamentary elections, turnout was
more than 50%, despite a boycott of four parties
representing the Shiite majority population. They objected
that the legislative power was divided between a council
appointed by the king and the elected parliament. None of
the eight female candidates came into Parliament, but
Islamists secured 19 of the 40 seats.
In November, the king appointed six women to the council,
the shura, which is beside the parliament. According to
Countryaah website, the Council has
40 seats, including representatives of various minorities.
In August, King Hamad visited Iran. The visit was the
first since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
In May, Bahrain banned the Qatar-based Arab TV channel
al-Jazira from broadcasting from within the country.