Poll urged for young ‘MPs’ in Bahrain


Al Wefaq presented its own proposals to parliament’s second vice-chairman Dr Salah Abdulrahman yesterday.

It wants a fully-elected, 40 member Youth Parliament, to mirror the real thing, with candidates aged between 15 and 25.

A committee chaired by the Education Minister would be formed and members from other concerned ministries will be appointed to draw up election by-laws and ensure smooth and fair polls, says Al Wefaq.

It was responding to what it says were strong leaks from sources at the Bahrain Institute for Political Development the government intended to appoint youngsters to the parliament, rather than leave seats open for election.

Bloc vice-president and spokesman Khalil Al Marzooq said that this would hamper Bahrain’s democratic progress, by sending out the wrong message to young people.

"This is a catastrophic move if it happens and I don’t want to think that our country is going backwards," said Mr Al Marzooq.

"Our young people are intelligent and smart enough to select the best to represent them

"Instead of teaching people the importance of democracy, we are teaching them the importance of bullying others, rather than listening to the call of the majority."

Mr Al Marzooq said that the bloc had now proposed its own formation law for a proper youth parliament.

"We have come up with a well studied proposal for a youth parliament, which we hope that other MPs will adopt and the government will execute, rather than the one they have in mind," he said.

"Our parliament is more organised and structured and could be a good way to introduce young people into the country’s democratic process."

Institute officials were unavailable for comment yesterday.


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