Bahrain Shi’ite MPs walk out of parliament in protest



Wefaq, which won 17 of parliament’s 40 seats in December, had demanded a probe into the financial affairs of cabinet affairs minister and royal family member Sheikh Ahmed bin Attiatullah Al Khalifa over allegations of poll irregularities made by his former adviser Salah Al Bander.

Parliamentary public relations chief Ghazi Abdul-Mohsen said members of parliament had voted against the investigation, and some had called for a committee to check the probe’s legality.

Wefaq spokesman Faheem Abdulla said the investigation had already been approved by parliament’s cabinet committee, which sets parliament’s agenda, and that the probe did not need to be put before a vote.

Bander’s report alleged that Attiatullah had made payments to various groups in an attempt to undermine Shi’ite support in last year’s polls, a charge Attiatullah has denied. Bander was sacked last September for fomenting civil strife, Attiatullah said.

Sunni ruled Bahrain has a Shi’ite majority and sectarian tensions sometimes cast a shadow over local politics. Wefaq took part in polls last year after boycotting 2002 previous elections in protest at what it said was government interference in in the make-up of parliament.


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