1994 Popular Petition for Reforms to Amir of Bahrain

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His Highness, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa

The Amir of the State of Bahrain, may God save him

It was an historic and successful step that you took to establish the pillars of the modern State of Bahrain. Following independence, you endorsed the Constitution on 6th December 1973 and enabled the holding of the legislative election. This was a leading edge in the modern history of Bahrain and that of the region. It has confirmed your belief in the importance of the popular participation on the basis of Shura (consultation) and justice for the fulfillment of the requirements demanded by the cultural progress of our modern country, and as demanded for laying down the foundation of its institutions with full determination and confidence in its posterity and their ability to shoulder responsibilities for the advancement of the country, peace and stability on the basis of fraternity, solidarity and social cohesion.

Since the dissolution of the National Assembly on 26th August 1975 until today, our homeland had suffered immensely. As a result, grave consequences occurred due to the interruption of the pioneering democratic process undertaken by you when you inaugurated the first legislative session of the elected National Assembly. Your people were keen to provide the opportunities for enriching the experiment of National Assembly.

The consequences after the dissolution of the National Assembly by the Amiri decree No. 4/1974 has necessitated opening the dialogue with your Highness on the future of our homeland. A group of citizens submitted the (first) petition to your Highness on 15/11/1992 which summarized the demands for restoring the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution.

As your highness is aware, the Consultative Council which you had appointed by an Amiri decree does not fill the existing vacuum due to the closing down of the most important and only legislative institution. The reality we now face dictates that we will fail our duty if we do not speak-out frankly to you. Your wise leadership witnesses the incorrect circumstances that our country is passing through amid the changing regional and international environment while the constitutional institution is absent. Had the banning of the National assembly been lifted, it would have enabled overcoming the negative accumulations which hinder the progress of our country. We are facing crises with dwindling opportunities and exits, the ever-worsening unemployment situation, the mounting inflation, the losses to the business sector, the problems generated by the nationality (citizenship) decrees and the prevention of many of our children from returning to their homeland. In addition, there are the laws which were enacted during the absence of the parliament which restrict the freedom of citizens and contradict the Constitution. This was accompanied by lack of freedom of expression and opinion and the total subordination of the press to the executive power. These problems, your Highness, have forced us as citizens to demand the restoration of the National Assembly, and the involvement of women in the democratic process. This could be achieved by free elections, if you decide not to recall the dissolved parliament to convene in accordance with article 65 of the Constitution which states:

"The Amir has the right to dissolve the National Assembly by an Amiri decree in which the reasons of the dissolution are explained. The dissolution of the Assembly for a second time and for the same reasons is not allowed. If the Assembly was dissolved, elections for a new Assembly must be held within a period not exceeding two months after the date of the dissolution. If elections were not held during this period, the dissolved Assembly would restore its complete constitutional powers, and shall meet immediately as if the dissolution has not taken place, and shall continue its functions until a new Assembly is elected."

We are confident and hopeful that you will realize the just demands of this petition. We have aimed at encouraging the completion of the structure of our young state, and at offering assistance to your wise leadership on the basis of justice, consultation and faith in the strong foundations which were laid down by our Islamic religion and which had been adopted by your blessed wisdom as stated in the Constitution of our dear Country.

May God keep you for us and grant you health and strong will. May God guide us all to what is good.

Signed by the following leading personalities and circulated for public collection of signatures:

1. Dr. Abdul Latif Al-Mahmmod, University Professor

2. Abdul Amir Al-Jamri, Ex-MP and Religious Scholar

3. Mohammed Jaber Al-Sabah, Ex-MP

4. Isa Abdulla Al-Joder, Religious Scholar

5. Ahmed Isa Al-Shamlan, Lawyer

6. Abdul Wahhab Hussain Ali, Educational Supervisor

7. Ali Qassim Rabea, Ex-MP and General Manager

8. Hesham Abdul Malik Al-Shehabi, Engineer

9. Dr. Abdul Aziz Hasan Ubol, Manager

10. Ibrahim Seyid Ali Kamal-u-Din, Marketing Officer

11. Dr. Moneera Ahmed Fakhroo, University Professor

12. Saeed Abdulla Asbool, Engineer

13. Abdulla Mohammed Saleh Al-Abbasi, Journalist

14. Abdulla Mohammed Rashid, Employee