Workshop on "Transparency" Regarding the Questionings of Ministers

The Bahraini Transparency Society organized a workshop on 15 January 2009 to discuss the questioning of Ministers in Parliament. The workshop recommended developing specific articles in the Constitution in order to grant greater power to the House of Representatives, and that such questioning should not be used for sectarian purposes or to the advantage of a particular group.

The workshop also emphasized the importance of continually developing the Parliamentary experience through the opening of serious channels for debate between the government and the opposition in order to solve issues of disagreement.

The Society also urged to learn from the experiences of other countries to improve regulatory performance, and to address deficiencies in the internal regulations of the House of Representatives and make the necessary adjustments,

Finally, the workshop recommended to note the balance between the use of regulatory tools as a constitutional right, and the public interest in order to preserve political and economic stability.

The Chairman of the Council of Representatives called for ‘a more professional parliamentary questioning system in order to promote public interests’. On the other hand, the President of the Bahraini Transparency Society, Abdulnabi Al Ekri, commented that ‘parliamentary questioning aroused considerable controversy among the parliamentarians, societies and political elites in the country’ due to the different affiliations of the targeted ministers, the issues they are questioned about, method, mechanism, and result of questioning, and the degree of cooperation of the executive authority with the outcomes of the questionings.

Dr Abdulla Al Nibari presented the Kuwaiti parliamentary experience on the subject and called for the development, reinforcement and revision of parliamentary experiences in the Gulf in order to discover shortcomings and gaps. He emphasized that such experiences should be a reflection of the popular will and should be effective and partners in decision-making.

MP Dr Salah Ali has applauded the parliamentary experience in Bahrain and has stressed the need to amend the Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives which is currently under review in order to re-activate the questioning mechanism, previously conducted by the Council.