Bahrain Government

General

Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy under the constitution that came into force in 2002. The executive branch consists of the king, who is head of state, and an appointed prime minister and cabinet. The national legislature is the National Assembly, consisting of an appointed 40-member Consultative Council and an elected 40-member Chamber of Deputies. Members serve for a four-year term. Administratively, the country is divided into five municipalities.

An Overview

Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
Conventional short form: Bahrain
Local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
Local short form: Al Bahrayn
Former: Dilmun

Government type
Constitutional hereditary monarchy

Capital
Manama

Administrative divisions
12 municipalities (manatiq, singular – mintaqah); Al Hadd, Al Manamah, Al Mintaqah al Gharbiyah, Al Mintaqah al Wusta, Al Mintaqah ash Shamaliyah, Al Muharraq, Ar Rifa’ wa al Mintaqah al Janubiyah, Jidd Hafs, Madinat Hamad, Madinat ‘Isa, Juzur Hawar, Sitrah
note: all municipalities administered from Manama

Independence
15 August 1971 (from UK)

National holiday
National Day, 16 December (1971); note – 15 August 1971 is the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 is the date of independence from British protection

Constitution
New constitution 14 February 2002

Legal system
Based on Islamic law and English common law

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa Al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
Head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman Al-Khalifa (since NA 1971)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
Elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament consists of Shura Council (40 members appointed by the King) and House of Deputies (40 members directly elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Deputies – last held 31 October 2002 (next election to be held NA 2006)
Election results: House of Deputies – percent of vote by party – NA%; seats by party – independents 21, Sunni Islamists 9, other 10
Note: first elections since 7 December 1973; unicameral National Assembly dissolved 26 August 1975; National Action Charter created bicameral legislature on 23 December 2000; approved by referendum 14 February 2001; first legislative session of Parliament held on 25 December 2002

Judicial branch
High Civil Appeals Court

Political parties and leaders
Political parties prohibited but politically oriented societies are allowed

Political pressure groups and leaders
Shi’a activists fomented unrest sporadically in 1994-97, demanding the return of an elected National Assembly and an end to unemployment; several small, clandestine leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups are active.

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