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.

What next?

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.