Democratic Consensual Monarchy
More than a year has passed and Bahrain’s political, social and
human rights crisis continues. The Government and all segments of
Bahraini society are eager to see the end of the crisis and hope
recent events never reoccur. But the important question is when
and how will it end?
Political parties, foreign observers and researchers all have
a clear idea about the way out of this crisis: first by easing tensions
surrounding the most controversial issues, especially human rights,
and this was the goal of both Bassiouni and Saleh’s reports. Secondly,
a political settlement must be reached through national dialogue
and national reconciliation.
When will dialogue and reconciliation take place?
At present, despite continued protests and outcry from human
rights organizations, the Bahraini scene has reached political stagnation.
This has been the case for several months, as the opposition, the
regime and Sunni groups are all refusing to compromise or make an
effort to break this vicious cycle.
For the past the year the explosive part of the crisis was linked
to human rights issues, for example: trials, torture, compensation,
religious sites, dismissed students, freedom of expression, right
to assembly and sectarianism among others. Efforts are now being
made to address such human rights issues, which Bassiouni’s report
dealt with and provided recommendations for. The current political
debate uses human rights terms in order to win political battles
against opponents, whilst waiting for dialogue to begin. Ultimately,
the Bahraini citizen, burdened with sectarianism and political disagreement,
is the biggest loser of all.
Political stagnation means that all political parties refuse
to compromise, and without compromise there will be no dialogue,
national reconciliation or a consensual political settlement on
the horizon. It also means that political parties are placing their
bets on local and regional changes.
Three words summarise the bases to alleviate the crisis:
Monarchy: it is not possible for any
party to change the political system, whether by violent or non-violent
means. The Monarchy should be an umbrella for the two components
of Bahraini society, the arbitrator of disagreement and the achiever
of political balance. This should develop into a constitutional
monarchy in the future.
Consensual which means all social
components agree on the extent of changes and determine the direction
and polices of the regime and their participation in political life.
Democratic which conforms with international
human rights principles in justice, equality, accountability, as
well as respecting diversity and the citizen’s opinions, choices
and political and civil rights.
The current political stagnation in Bahrain should end as it
is negatively impacting all political, social and economic aspects
of public life. All parties should accept the principle of consensus
as a basic element in alleviating the problem. This is because monarcy
is generally accepted as a political system, and democracy as a
mechanism for public participation in decision making, in order
to build a civilised country and a developed society.