Bahrain. On February 14, Emir Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa proclaimed Bahrain a constitutional monarchy and himself as king.
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, national day of Bahrain is every December 16. 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.