A special session will address the foreign residents’ community’s contributions in its session on Monday. Delegates agreed to grant the elected parliament greater legislative and monitoring powers.
In particular, the presence of ministers will be required when MPs debate issues related to their respective ministries.
MPs will be able to question ministers during the parliamentary sessions rather than in specific committees. The Parliament will be entitled to initiate discussions on any theme in addition to the agenda.
Overall, these decisions reinforce the parliament’s powers of scrutiny over the activities of the government, strengthening the accountability of ministers to the elected representatives of the people. Delegates did not reach consensus on a number of further suggestions, including whether the Shura Council should be granted the same powers as the Parliament, and whether the responsibility for law-making and oversight should be restricted to the elected chamber.
The Dialogue discussed placing the National Audit Court under the aegis of the Parliament and granting Parliament the right to amend the government’s general budget without its approval. However, concerns over the independence of the National Audit Court meant that delegates did not agree on these questions.
On June 1st 2011, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa appointed Parliament’s Speaker Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Dhahrani to chair the National Dialogue.
The National Dialogue convened on July 2nd, 2011 with the attendance of around 300 participants representing various societies and prominent individuals.
The dialogue aims at bringing together the various segments of the Bahraini society to present people’s views and demands for further reform in the country without any preconditions and with the consensus of all participants.
The Dialogue is expected to revolve around four main topics that include political, economic, social and rights issues.