Bahrain parliament now down to 22 members

May 17, 2011

MANAMA: Bahrain’s parliament has accepted the resignations of seven more lawmakers from the Shiite opposition, leaving the 40-member parliament with only 22 lawmakers.

The resignations were submitted in February over the deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters. The lawmakers acted alongside 11 other Shiite opposition members of parliament whose resignations were previously accepted.

Elections to replace the 18 empty seats are scheduled for September.

Shiites make up about 70 percent of the population in a kingdom ruled by a 200-year-old Sunni dynasty but parliament is dominated by Sunnis. The Shiite lawmakers were the driving force behind protests calling for political reforms that began in February.

Bahraini authorities have been seeking to prosecute opposition leaders and other protesters perceived to be linked to clashes and protests in the Gulf Arab nation.

A special security court set up under martial law sentenced four people to death last month for killing two policemen during the unrest. It is also trying 21 mostly Shiite opposition leaders and political activists accused of plotting against the state.

Source: Arab News.

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