King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on May 3 ratified amendments to Bahrain’s constitution aimed at defusing unrest in the strategic Gulf state. “The process of reform that marked the beginning of my tenure in power will not stop,” said the monarch. “We hope in this important period that all forces and groups will assess their actions and join the process of progress and reforms,” he said.
“Doors remain open to dialogue, which is aimed at achieving a national accord,” he added.
According to the amendments, the king now has to consult the heads of the elected Parliament and the appointed Consultative Council before dissolving the legislature. State TV dubbed the amendments “the consensus of a people.” The amendments, which boost powers to question and remove ministers and withdraw confidence in the Cabinet, stem from a national dialogue the king organised after last year’s uprising. The elected chamber alone now has the right to vote to withhold its cooperation from the prime minister and refer its decision to the king, who then has the final choice on whether to dismiss the premier or keep him in post.