Bahrain opposition submits views on National Dialogue


Dubai: The coalition of opposition societies has submitted its views on resuming the National Dialogue stalled after months of talks.
The coalition, led by Al Wefaq Islamic Society, said that it had sent its views to the Minister of Royal Court Affairs Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa who had held separate meetings with the parties expected to take part in the new look-national dialogue.
All parties, including another coalition of political societies and independent members of the bicameral parliament, had been asked to present their visions on five major issues “in order to converge views among stakeholders on the agenda and start a new phase to complete the National Dialogue,” the Royal Court said last month.
The stakeholders were asked to detail their proposals for the future on the legislative, judicial and executive branches, the electoral constituencies and security for all.
The opposition said that their views focused on the comprehensive values of national unity to help build a stable future and put an end to three years of turbulent times and political crises.
It said that it was looking forward to holding three meetings a week within a positive political atmosphere.
The views by the opposition and the other parties will be reviewed by the Royal Court before the participants are brought together for the talks to be held under a new format, following the suspension on January 8 of the earlier dialogue launched on February 10, 2013.
The dialogue was suspended after the 27 participants, representing the two political coalitions and delegates from the bicameral parliament and the government failed to agree on a specific format and to set an agenda for the talks meant to overcome sharp differences resulting from the dramatic events that unfolded in Bahrain in February and March 2011.
Hope for the restart of the dialogue was revived in mid-January after Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, based on directives from King Hamad, met the participants and stressed the significance of holding talks for the sake of the nation.
Bahrainis are deeply divided over the merit of the dialogue as the healing process is being slowed down by the mistrust that has developed between segments of the society during and after the dramatic events of three years ago.
However, optimistic voices have been calling for giving the new dialogue a chance to overcome differences on political matters.