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Bahrain--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report

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2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of the Bahrain's monarchical electoral system …

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of the Bahrain's monarchical electoral system

FDA auditors gave Bahrain an overall electoral score of 0%. (50% is the minimum passing grade.)

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  • 1. 2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrains Monarchical Electoral SystemExecutive Summary: Bahrain received a failing overall score of 0 percent for electoralfairness. The score means that the constitutional and legislative basis for Bahrains politicalsystem is completely unfair. Though some of Bahrains laws are electorally fair, this fairnessis canceled out by the kingdoms severe restrictions on political societies and politicalcontent, and the powerlessness of the elected Council of Deputies over the kingdomsexecutive branch of government. Electoral Fairness Audit Completed July 18, 2011. Updated October 3, 2011
  • 2. About the Foundation for Democratic Advancement:The Foundation for Democratic Advancement ("FDA")s mission is to advance fair andtransparent democratic processes wherever elections occur. The FDA believes that fairerelectoral systems and a more informed public will help ensure the election of candidates whotruly represent the will of the people. The FDA fulfills its mission by performing detailedelectoral audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively andimpartially, about their electoral choices. Also, the FDA audits electoral legislation in terms offairness and equity, and conducts ground level assessments of democratic processes. (For moreinformation on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.com)Purpose of Electoral Fairness Audit:The purpose of the FDA’s electoral fairness audit (the “Audit”) is to determine a grade andranking for electoral fairness in Bahrain at the parliamentary level of government. This Audit ispart of the FDA’s global audit of electoral fairness involving all countries which hold politicalelections. The FDAs goal is to give the citizens of Bahrain an informed, objective perspective ofthe fairness of the Bahraini monarchical electoral system.The views in this electoral fairness audit are the views of the FDA only. The FDA’s members andvolunteers are in no way affiliated with the Bahraini monarchy or any of the Bahrainiregistered/non-registered political parties. The Audit is an independent assessment based onobjectivity, transparency and non-partisanship. The FDA assumes no responsibility or liabilityfor any errors in the calculation of its audit results or inaccuracies in its research of relevantBahraini legislation.Methodology of the Electoral Fairness Audit:The FDA uses the methodology of more reasonableness which was created by FDA founder andexecutive director, Stephen Garvey. The methodology focuses on facts themselves for fairnessand unfairness, and their comparative numerical value. To determine the correct numerical valuefor facts, FDA auditors are guided by matrices which show the numerical value of establishedfacts, and FDA scoring scales for fairness and unfairness.The FDA focuses on four key areas of electoral fairness:1) Laws and regulations on the political content of media including newspapers, broadcasters andonline media before, during, and after elections;2) Laws and regulations on the candidates’ and parties’ influence before, during and afterelections, such as national televised debates, restrictions on candidate nominations, partyregistration requirements, etc.;3) Laws and regulations on electoral finance, such as party and campaign donation limits, thirdparty spending limits etc.; and Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain
  • 3. 4) Laws and regulations on voter say before, during, and after an election. The FDA auditorsdetermine the fairness of Bahraini laws and regulations for voter say in the media, at the pollingbooth, through electoral finance and constitutional laws etc.The FDA audits these four areas of electoral fairness because, in our opinion, they are oftenignored or overlooked by the international community in determining electoral fairness.Moreover, these four areas cover broad aspects of the electoral process in which fairness couldbe compromised significantly. The FDA acknowledges that electoral laws and regulations maynot necessarily correspond to the implementation of those laws and regulations or the public’sresponse to them. The implementation and response could be positive or negative, in terms ofelectoral fairness. Nevertheless, laws and regulations provide the foundation for democracy,framework for the electoral system, and an indication of electoral fairness. Also, a countrysconstitutional and electoral laws are part of the reality of its democracy. A further study whichtracks the actions of mainstream media and the enforcement or non-enforcement of electorallaws and regulation, for example, would provide a more reliable overall determination ofelectoral fairness.The FDA researched current Bahraini legislation, in relation to the four areas of electoral fairnessbeing audited. Following which, the FDA audited the research results via the FDA electoral auditteam and established FDA matrices and scoring scales. The scores and the reasons for them arerecorded.Weighting and Scoring:Overall, the FDA scoring is guided by an inherent valuation of the concepts of soundness andrelevancy. Each area of electoral fairness has a score range between 0 and 10, and each area iscounted equally. The FDA auditors allow for overlap of electoral fairness areas, due to theinterconnectedness of the areas. For example, electoral finance will be factored into the score forvoter say and candidate and party influence if it is relevant to these areas. The total averagedscore will provide an indication of the electoral fairness in Bahrain.The FDA electoral audit team deliberated on the research on each area of electoral fairness, andthen attempted to reach consensus on the scores. When no consensus could be reached, theindividual scores of the team were averaged. The final score for each area must be supported bymore sound reasons and correspond to the established FDA matrices and scoring scale.FDA Researchers:Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelor degree in Political Science(University of British Columbia) and Masters degree in Environment and Development(University of Cambridge).Mr. Davood Norooi, Masters degree in Mining Engineer, former employee of the NationalIranian Oil Company, FDA researcher, and Iranian citizen. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain
  • 4. FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Team:Chief Electoral Auditor:Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelor degree in Political Science(University of British Columbia) and Masters degree in Environment and Development(University of Cambridge).Electoral Auditors:Mr. James Cheung, bachelor degree in Commerce (University of Calgary) and FDA researcher.Mr. Davood Norooi, Masters degree in Mining Engineer, former employee of the NationalIranian Oil Company, FDA researcher, and Iranian citizen.Ms. Gillian Hunter, third year Law major (University of Edinburgh), FDA volunteer, andScottish citizen.Mr. Geoff Thiessan, bachelor degree in English Literature (University of Calgary), formerfreelance reporter, Surface Land Administrator and FDA researcher and writer.Ms. Larisa Vortman, diploma in teaching, ten years teaching experience, FDA researcher, andRussian citizen.© 2011, Foundation for Democratic AdvancementAll rights reserved.Foundation for Democratic Advancement728 Northmount Drive NWPO Box 94Calgary, AlbertaCanada, T2K 1P0info@democracychange.com Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain
  • 5. Table of Contents:Political Background on Bahrain 7Chapter 1: Political Content of Media 8Executive Summary 8Research Excerpts 8Score 15Rational 15Chapter 2 Equality of Political Candidate and Party Influence 16Executive Summary 16Research Excerpts 16Score 19Rational 19Chapter 3: Equality of Electoral Finance 21Executive Summary 21Research Excerpts 21Score 21Rational 21Chapter 4: Equality of Voter Say 23Executive Summary 23Research Excerpts 23Score 26Rational 26Chapter 5: Overall Audit Results 28Chapter 6: Analysis 29
  • 6. Chapter 7: Conclusion 30Chapter 8: Recommendations 31References: 32Appendix: FDA Global Audit Results 33
  • 7. Political Background on BahrainBahrain is a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament.National elections only apply to members of the Council of Deputies, which form half of theparliament. The other half of the parliament, the Consultative Council is appointed by theexecutive branch of government.The Bahraini parliament has no power over the formation of the executive branch ofgovernment.Bahrain is divided into five governorates, each of which has a ten-member municipal councilpopularly elected.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 7
  • 8. Chapter One: Political Content of MediaChapter one will focus on the research and audit results of Bahraini laws and regulations withrespect to the political content of media, including newspapers, broadcasters and on-line media,before, during and after elections.Executive Summary:Bahrain received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of political content. The score meansthat Bahrains constitutional and legislative laws on the medias political content are completelyunfair. The Bahraini state media and broadcasters are not required legally to be impartial.Bahraini political content must conform to the kingdom. Bahraini journalists and media personsface severe penalties including up to 5 years in prison for producing and disseminating politicalcontent which does not conform to the kingdom. Foreign journalists face the same restriction onpolitical content, and they will lose their media licenses if they act contrary to the principles andgoals of the kingdom.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:ARTICLE (24)Freedom of the press, printing and publication shall be guaranteed in accordance with theconditions andprocedures specified by the law.[freedom of press as defined by law]Part 4 Offense in The Referendum and Election processArticle 30Without superceding any other severe punishment that the penal law stipulates or any other law,a person can be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not more than 6 months and finednot more than 500 Bahraini Dinars or any of the above if found guilty of committing any ofthe following acts: 7- Published or broadcast false statements about he topic of thereferendum or the conduct of a candidate or his morals intending to influence the outcome of thereferendum or election.“The Al Wasat newspaper was suspended on April 2, 2011 over charges that it had falsifiednews, but resumed publishing the next day after its editor-in-chief Mansoor al-Jamri, its Britishmanaging editor Walid Noueihed and head of local news Aqeel Mirza agreed to resign.On April 4, two Iraqi journalists working for Al Wasat, Raheem al-Kaabi and Ali al-Sherify, weredeported without trial.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 8
  • 9. Bahrains attorney-general, Ali Bin Fadhl al-Bouainain, said Jamri, Noueihed and Mirza werereleased pending trial in the criminal court once investigations were completed."The defendants were... accused of publishing false news... to disturb public peace and harm thegeneral interests of the state and they were presented with the evidence," Bouainain said in astatement on the official Bahrain News Agency.Decree-Law No. (47) for the year 2002On the organization of the press, printing and publishing On the organization of the press,printing and publishing:Article (16): Article (16):Without prejudice to any severer penalty provided for by the Penal Code or any other law,punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceedingtwo thousand dinars, or both of: Without prejudice to any severer penalty provided for by thePenal Code or any other law, punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three monthsor a fine not exceeding two thousand dinars, or both of:A - set up of the institutions mentioned in the articles (4) and (6) of this Act or the person whopractices without a license.B - the printing of any publication without written permission from the original owner or hissuccessor.The court may, as well as the sentence referred to the order the confiscation of the seized allthe publications that have been used in the crime may also have a rule to close the printingpress.Article (19): Article (19):The Minister may prohibit the circulation of publications that include prejudice to the regimein the state or official religion or immoral behavior or exposure to vulnerable religionswould disturb the public peace, or which contain the banned things published inaccordance with the provisions of this law.Article (20): Article (20):The Minister may prevent any publications issued abroad from entering, trading in theKingdom and the maintenance of public order or morality, or religious or otherconsiderations of public interest.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 9
  • 10. Article (22):Punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding onethousand dinars, or both, all of the open or managed the library without a license or thepublication or circulation of publications has been authorized in circulation, issued adecision preventing circulation or enter the country or confiscated copied in accordancewith the provisions of the preceding articles .Article (42):Prohibits the publication of any newspaper article announcement inconsistent with the values ofsociety and established principles and etiquette, and public or the press with the message and itsgoals, and should be separated completely, and prominent among the editorial and advertisingmaterials.Article (43):Not permissible for a journalist to work to bring ads or to get any money directly or indirectly, orbenefits from advertising in any capacity, and may not sign his name advertising material.Article (49):Taking into account that the chief editor of a Bahraini national, is required in each of the editor orthe editor in charge of the following:A - Hold a university degree and has the appropriate practical experience.B - not under the age of thirty years of age.C - to be of good character and reputation, has never been convicted of a felony ormisdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, unless he has been rehabilitated.D - do not hold any public office whether appointed or electedE - be fluent in the paper, which works by reading and writing.Response and correctionArticle (60):The editor in chief or editor in charge - if any to be published on the owner the right to respondto correct what is said of the facts or previously published statements in the newspapers withinthree days following the receipt of the patch or in the first show of the paper in all editions,whichever located first, and in accordance with the dates printed in the newspaper and must IcznFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 10
  • 11. publishing in the same place and with the same letters that the publication of the article or newsstory or article to be corrected.D - If the content of the reply or correction contrary to law or contrary to public order orpublic morals.Article (63):If no correction in the period stipulated in Article (60) of this law, one who may regard the notifythe Department by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to make what you see in thedeployment of the patch.And punishable omission on the deployment of the patch within the period specified by afine of not less than one thousand Dinars and not exceeding two thousand dinars.The court when judging Balavobh or compensation order the publication of the sentenceimposed, or civil compensation in a daily newspaper and one at the expense of the newspaper, aswell as publishing the newspaper that published the article or news merits of the case within aperiod not exceeding fifteen days from the date of the verdict, is not this publication However, ifthe rule became final.Article (67):If convicted of the charges against the journalist, the Committee makes a decision Bmjazath anyof the following penalties:A - DisciplineB - warningC - prohibition from practicing the profession for a period not exceeding one monthD - prohibition from practicing the profession for a period not exceeding six monthsThe Committees decision to both the Minister and the Association of Journalists in a week fromthe date of its issuance, and may press the appeal on the decision of the conviction within fifteendays from the date of issue before the High Civil Court.Article (68):Without prejudice to a more severe penalty provided for by the Penal Code or any other law, thepenalty for the deployment of already includes the following acts of imprisonment for a periodof not less than six monthsFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 11
  • 12. A) exposure to the official state religion in its components and pillars of abuse or criticismB) the currency exposure of the king, or to blame him for any act of governmentC) incitement to commit criminal homicide, robbery or arson, crimes against the security of thestate, if the consequences of such incitement a crimeD) incitement to overthrow the regime or change itArticle (75):If sentenced to the editor or editor in charge of a crime committed by the newspaper the courtmay rule disable the newspaper a period not exceeding six months.And if sentenced again on the editor or the editor responsible for the same newspaper in anoffense mentioned occurred during the year following the issuance of the previous government,was sentenced to disrupt the newspaper for at least three months and not exceeding one year,with the passport rule for revocation of license, and may not implement the rule of disruption orrevocation of the license but tomorrow governance has become final.And spent in all cases, the confiscation of the publication and adjust the number and execution ofthe assets.In case of recurrence within three years from the date of the previous sentence in the crimethe punishment shall be imprisonment for not more than five years, and without prejudiceto the signing of the supplementary penalties provided for in Article (75) of the Act.Article (69):Without prejudice to any severer penalty provided for by the Penal Code or any other law, shallbe punished by a fine of not more than two thousand dinars to publish what wouldA - incitement to hate a group or groups of people, or contempt for, or incitement which leads todisturb public order or discord in society and undermining national unity.B - inconsistent with public morals or offending the dignity of persons or their own lives.C - incitement to non-compliance with the law, or improving the order of things, which is afelony or a misdemeanor in the eyes of the law.Article (70):Without prejudice to any severer penalty provided for by the Penal Code or any other law shallbe punished by the penalty provided for in the previous article on the deployment include:A) a defect in the right of the king or head of an Arab or Muslim, or any other exchange with theFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 12
  • 13. Kingdom of Bahrains diplomatic representation.B) insult or contempt of any legislature or the courts or other statutory bodies.C) dissemination of false news or papers artificial or false evidence Bsa faith to others wheresuch publication would disturb public order or harm public Nmsalehh.D) the publication of news for official communications confidential or private data stronglydefend the consequent damage to the broadcast public interest, or if the government had bannedthe publication, and the penalty is doubled if the crime is committed in time of war or during ageneral or partial tired of the Bahrain Defence Force. May not take criminal proceedings in thecases provided for in item (b) of this article only at the request of the President of theCommission or the relevant.Article (88):It is not permitted to reporters or newspapers or magazines and news agencies or foreignradio practice in Bahrain before receiving a license from the ministry, and the license shallbe for one year, renewable.The penalty for violating this prohibition by a fine not exceeding one thousand dinars.Article (89):For the Department to warn of a newspaper or magazine reporter or foreign news agency if it isfound that the news published by involving the make up or exaggerate or mislead or distort,if repeated to do so may withdraw the license granted to it by the Minister.The 2008 amendment seeks to shield those who exercise their right to freedom of expressionfrom punishment as long as they preserve the political system’s privacy and fundamentals, theKingdoms heritage and general decency. – Bahrain TribuneCensorship of the internet via blocking specific sites including google translate.In the first ministerial order of the new year from the new new minister of information, we get awave of site blocking, even Google translation service is blocked! How can they block Googletranslation service for goodness sake? This is so farcical it simply beggars belief. The ONLYtranslation service that could help people be more connected with the world and the ONLY freeEnglish/Arabic translation service is now no longer if you go to google.com/translate I think thepress (and all active bloggers) should make a huge stink about this.The Bahraini News Agency (BNA) is an extension to the Information Affairs Authority (IAA)that was established in Riyadh 1967 by a unanimous decision of Gulf Cooperation Council’sInformation Ministers , where the late Minister of Information Tariq Al Moayed was employedas the first chairman of the agency’s board of directors and Nabil bin Yaqub Al Hamar wasFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 13
  • 14. positioned as BNA’s general manager.BNA was originally named Gulf News Agency, In April 1st 1978 the first official news wasbroadcasted under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister Prince Khalifa binSalman Al Khalifa. The agency was combined with the Ministry of Information in 1985 whereasthe name was adjusted to Bahrain News Agency in 2003, working under the umbrella of IAAPresident Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.The unlimited support of the Kingdom to the employees of the agency had significant influenceon building a reliable source to local, regional and international news of political, economic orcultural activities.BBC on Bahrain Media:There is a lively private press, but most Bahraini radio and TV stations are state-run. A 2008study found that nearly 99% of households had a satellite receiver.A press law guarantees the right of journalists to operate independently, but they are liable to jailterms for offences which include insulting the king, and self-censorship is practised.BBC World Service is available on FM in Manama (101 MHz in English; 103.8 in Arabic).By June 2010, Bahrain had 649,300 internet users (InternetWorldStats.com).Rigorous filtering targets political, human rights, religious material and content deemed obscene."Many websites run by national or international non-government organisations are inaccessible,"Reporters Without Borders notes.The press • Akhbar al-Khaleej - private,daily • Al-Ayam - private, daily • Al-Wasat - private, daily • Bahrain Tribune - English-language • Gulf Daily News - English-languageTelevision • Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) - state-run; operates five terrestrial TV networks • Radio • Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) - state-run; operates General Programme in Arabic, Second Programme featuring cultural and local programmes, Holy Koran Programme, Sports Service, English-language Radio Bahrain • Voice FM - private, for Indian listenersFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 14
  • 15. Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Media and Broadcasters:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10Rational for Score:Political content must conform to the kingdom and its preservation, goals, laws, and principles.Any political content which the kingdom deems counter to the public order, preservation of thekingdom, critical of the king, and critical of the Bahrain government may be censored andcorresponding journalist, editor, media owner fined and/or imprisoned, and license revoked.Bahrain’s criminal code has severe punishments for political content not conforming to thekingdom, including up to and more than 5 years imprisonment, revoke of media license, andconfiscation of media equipment.There are no restrictions on the political content of the state media and broadcasters, except forconformance to the kingdom.Journalists, editors, owners of media, with convicted of felonies or misdemeanors involvingmoral turpitude or dishonesty, unless he has been rehabilitated, shall be denied license topractice any form journalism/media related activity.There is a citizen right of reply to media content, but the citizens replies are restricted by thepolitical content laws.The internet is subject to the restrictions on political content. Websites are routinely blockedbased on their content.All foreign media must have a license to work in Bahrain. Foreign media will lose their license ifthey act contrary to the kingdom and its preservation and principles including public order andmorals.There is no requirement that state media and broadcasters be impartial.The score of 0 percent for equality of political content means that Bahraini laws and regulationson political content are completely unfair. Any element of political content fairness is canceledout by the overall restrictions on political content and control of it by the Bahraini kingdom.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 15
  • 16. Chapter Two: Candidates’ and Parties’ InfluenceChapter two will focus on the research and audit results of Bahraini laws and regulations with respect tothe fairness of candidates and parties’ influence before, during and after elections.Executive Summary:Bahrain received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of candidate and party influence. Thescore means that Bahrains constitutional and legislative laws on candidate and party influenceare completely unfair. The kingdom bans political parties, and controls and severely restrictspolitical content. The state media and broadcasters can be partial. Political societies whichreplace political parties must conform to the principles and goals of the kingdom, and not bebased on class, sectarian, ethnic, geographical, or occupational affiliations. The state controls andregulates public civic organizations and public meetings, marches, and rallies.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:Bahrain Constitution:(b). Rule, in Bahrain, being hereditary, shall pass from his Highness Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman Al-Khalifa to his eldest son and from him to eldest son again and so forth generation aftergeneration, except when the Amir has appointed, during his lifetime, as succession a son otherthan the eldest according to the rules of the special Amiri Succession Decree provided for in thenext clause.(c). The generality of the rules of succession shall be regulated by a special Amiri decree thatshall be constitutional in character and that shall not be amended except in accordance with therules of Article(104) of the Constitution.And in case the heir-apparent be appointed minister, he shall be exempted from the conditions ofage and registration in the election rolls prescribed in Article (44) of this Constitution.ARTICLE (28)(a). Individuals shall have the right of private assembly without permission or prior notification,and no member of the security forces may attend such private meetings.(b). Public meetings, processions and gatherings shall be permitted in accordance with theconditions and procedures prescribed by the law, provided that their purpose and means arepeaceful and not contrary to morals.(c). Legislative power shall be vested in the Amir and the National Assembly in accordancewith the Constitution, and the Executive power shall be vested in the Amir, the Cabinet and theMinisters.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 16
  • 17. Judicial decrees shall be passed in the name of the Amir, all in accordance with the provisionsof the Constitution.CHAPTER I - THE AMIRARTICLE (33)(a). The Amir is the Head of the State, his person shall be immune and inviolable, and he shallexercise his powers through his Ministers who shall collectively report to him on the Generalpolicy of the Government, and each Minister shall be responsible for the affairs of his Ministry.(b). The Amir shall, after the traditional consultations, appoint the Prime Minister or relieve himof http://confinder.richmond.edu/Bahrain.htm (9 of 27)4/11/2005 11:07:25 AMoffice by an Amiri decree. The Amir shall also appoint Ministers or relieve them of office by anAmiri decree, upon the recommendations of the Prime Minister.(c). Ministers shall not be appointed from amongst the members of the National Assembly in thefirst legislative term, but they may be appointed from amongst the members of the NationalAssembly or others with effect from the second legislative term.Ministers appointed from amongst outsiders shall become ex-officio members of the NationalAssembly. The total number of ministers shall not exceed 14.(d). The Cabinet shall be reconstituted in the manner set out in this article at the beginning ofevery legislative term of the National Assembly.(e). The Amir shall be the Supreme Commander of the Defense Force.(f). The Amir shall confer Orders of Honour in accordance with the law.(g). Currency shall be minted in the name of the Amir in accordance with the law.(h). The Amir shall protect the legality of the government and the supremacy of law, and shalltake the following oath at a special sitting of the National Assembly: "I swear by Almighty Godto respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, to defend the liberties, interests andproperties of the people, and to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of thecountry".(i). The Amir shall have an annual privy purse to be determined by a special Amiri decree. Theprivy purse may not be revised throughout the reign of the Amir, and shall thereafter be fixed bylaw.ARTICLE (35)(a). The Amir shall have the right to initiate laws, and he alone shall ratify and promulgate thelaws.ARTICLE (43)The National Assembly shall be composed of:(a). Thirty members elected directly by universal suffrage and secret ballot, in accordance withthe provisions of the electoral law. The number of these members shall be increased to forty witheffect from the elections or the second legislative term. Electoral constituencies shall bedetermined by the law.(b). The Ministers by virtue of their portfolios.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 17
  • 18. ARTICLE (44)A member of the National Assembly must:(a). have been registered in one of the electoral rolls, not be suspended from exercising his rightto vote, and be a Bahraini citizen by origin.(b). be not less than thirty-full calendar years of age on the day of election.(c). be able to read and write Arabic well.ARTICLE (45)The term of the National Assembly shall be four calendar years commencing from the date of itsfirst meeting. Elections for the new Assembly shall take place within two months preceding theexpiry of the said term, due regard being given to the provisions of Article (65) of thisConstitution. Members whose term of office expires may be re-elected. The term of the NationalAssembly may not be extended except for necessity in time of war and by a law passed by two-third majority of the members constituting the Assembly.ARTICLE (53)Before assuming their duties in the Assembly or its committees, members of the NationalAssembly, including the Ministers, shall take the following oath in a public sitting: --"I swear by Almighty God to be faithful to the country and to the Amir, to respect theConstitution and the laws of the State, to defend the liberties, interests and properties of thepeople and to discharge my duties honestly and truthfully".ARTICLE (73)The National Assembly shall express its wishes to the Government regarding publicmatters. If the Goverment cannot comply with these wishes, it shall state to the Assemblythe reasons therefor. The Assembly may comment once on the Governments statement.(c). Under no circumstances shall the principle of the hereditary rule of Bahrain, theprinciples of liberty and equality set forth in this Constitution, as well as Article (2) thereof,be proposed for amendment.Law by Decree No. 14 for 2002 Exercising Political RightsPart 1 Political RightsArticle 3A person is prohibited from practicing political rights if he is sentenced for a crime orincarcerated, until he finishes his sentence.MENA Election Guide:Decree No. 14 of 2002 governs the electoral process. All Bahraini men and women over the ageof 21 are allowed to vote, as are citizens of GCC countries resident in Bahrain and non-residentswho own property in Bahrain.Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected in 40 separate electoral districts. TheFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 18
  • 19. composition of these districts has resulted in charges of gerrymandering; the largest districts,mainly Shiite, contain over 12,000 people, while the smallest have only 500 voters. Electiondates must be set 45 days in advance, while election reruns must be announced 30 days inadvance. Before elections, a schedule of eligible voters is published for each district.Bahrain is divided into five governorates, each of which has a ten-member municipal councilpopularly elected.According to the 2005 Law on Political Societies, Bahrain political societies cannot be formedbased on class, sectarian, ethnic, geographic, or occupational affiliation. Also, political societiesmust accept the Constitution. Members of political societies cannot also be part of non-Bahrainipolitical organizations or part of the military establishment.Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Candidates and Parties:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10.Rational for Score:The political content of private media and broadcasters must conform to the kingdom and itsprinciples and goals, including public order and moral. Criticism of the kingdom is severelyrestricted and punished through imprisonment and loss political rights.The kingdoms public media and broadcasters are permitted to be partial.Despite the formation of a Bahraini National Assembly comprised partly of an elected Council ofDeputies, the monarchy based on hereditary has supreme power over the country. Also, theParliament has no power over the executive of government.Public organization and meetings must not be contrary to the public peace and morals. Civilsociety organizations must attain a license. Also, citizens wishing to hold a public rally ordemonstration must obtain a permit.Citizens sentenced for crimes may be denied political rights.Political parties are illegal.Political societies (which replace political parties) can run candidates in parliamentary elections.However, political societies must accept the Constitution, and they must not be formed based onclass, sectarian, ethnic, geographical, or occupational affiliations. Also, members are not allowedto be part of non-Bahraini political organizations, or the Bahrain military establishment.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 19
  • 20. The score of 0 percent means that Bahrains laws and regulations of candidate and partyinfluence are completely unfair. The kingdom restricts severely any political candidates andparties who oppose the principles and goals of the kingdom. Moreover, the elected Council ofDeputies is canceled out by the unelected Consultative Council, and the Council of Deputies hasno power over the executive branch of government.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 20
  • 21. Chapter Three: Electoral FinanceChapter three will focus on the research and audit results of Bahraini laws and regulations withrespect to the fairness of Bahraini laws and regulations with respect to electoral finance.Executive Summary:Bahrain received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of electoral finance. The score meansthat Bahrains constitutional and legislative laws on electoral finance are completely unfair. TheFDA researchers could find no Bahraini laws and regulations on electoral finance, which meansthat there are no spending limits on electoral finance. However, since political societies andpolitical content must conform to the kingdoms principles and goals, the state media can bepartial, and the elected Council of Deputies has no power over the kingdoms executive branch,the freedom of Bahraini citizens and legal entities to fund political societies is canceled out.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:There is no mention of electoral finance in Bahrain’s electoral and constitutional laws.Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Bahraini Election Finance:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10.Rational for Score:The FDA could find no laws on electoral finance.Political content must conform to the preservation, principles, and goals of the kingdom.Political parties are illegal.Political societies (which replace political parties) can run candidates in parliamentary elections.However, political societies must accept the Constitution, and they must not be formed based onclass, sectarian, ethnic, geographical, or occupational affiliation. Also, members are not allowedto part of non-Bahraini political organizations, or the Bahrain military establishment.State media and broadcasters are not required to be impartial.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 21
  • 22. The elected Council of Deputies is canceled out by the unelected Consultative Council, and theCouncil of Deputies has no power over the executive branch of government.The score of 0 percent for electoral finance laws means that the Bahraini electoral finance lawsare completely unfair. The FDA auditors determine that with or without electoral finance laws,the Bahraini political system is completely unfair due to kingdom controls over politicalsocieties, political content, the parliament, and executive branch of government.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 22
  • 23. Chapter Four: Voter SayChapter four will focus on the research and audit results of Bahraini laws and regulations withrespect to the fairness of voter say laws and regulations before, during and after an election.Executive Summary:Bahrain received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of voter say. The score means thatBahrains constitutional and legislative laws on voter say are completely unfair. Political societiesand political content must conform to the kingdoms principles and goals. The elected Council ofDeputies is canceled out by the unelected Consultative Council, and the Council of Deputies hasno power over the executive branch of government. Voters who oppose the kingdom arerestricted severely in their say.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:Bahrain Constitution:(b). Rule, in Bahrain, being hereditary, shall pass from his Highness Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman Al-Khalifa to his eldest son and from him to eldest son again and so forth generation aftergeneration, except when the Amir has appointed, during his lifetime, as succession a son otherthan the eldest according to the rules of the special Amiri Succession Decree provided for in thenext clause.(c). The generality of the rules of succession shall be regulated by a special Amiri decree thatshall be constitutional in character and that shall not be amended except in accordance with therules ofArticle (104) of the Constitution.And in case the heir-apparent be appointed minister, he shall be exempted from the conditions ofage and registration in the election rolls prescribed in Article (44) of this Constitution.(e). All the citizens shall have the right to participate in the public affairs of the State and enjoyall political rights starting the right to vote in accordance with this constitution and the conditionsand situations prescribed by law.Justice underlies the system of government. Cooperation and mutual understanding are firmbonds among citizens. Liberty, equality, security, tranquility, education, social solidarity andequal opportunities for citizens are the pillars of society guaranteed by the State.[Equal political opportunity???]Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 23
  • 24. ARTICLE (23)http://confinder.richmond.edu/Bahrain.htm (7 of 27)4/11/2005 11:07:25 AMFreedom of speech and freedom to carry out scientific research shall be guaranteed. Everyperson shall have the right to express and propagate his opinion in words or in writing or by anyother means, in accordance with the conditions and procedures specified by the law.[freedom as defined by law]ARTICLE (28)(a). Individuals shall have the right of private assembly without permission or prior notification,and no member of the security forces may attend such private meetings.(b). Public meetings, processions and gatherings shall be permitted in accordance with theconditions and procedures prescribed by the law, provided that their purpose and means arepeaceful and not contrary to morals.(b). Legislative power shall be vested in the Amir and the National Assembly in accordancewith the Constitution, and the Executive power shall be vested in the Amir, the Cabinet and theMinisters. Judicial decrees shall be passed in the name of the Amir, all in accordance with theprovisions of the Constitution.CHAPTER I - THE AMIRARTICLE (33)(a). The Amir is the Head of the State, his person shall be immune and inviolable, and he shallexercise his powers through his Ministers who shall collectively report to him on the Generalpolicy of the Government, and each Minister shall be responsible for the affairs of his Ministry.(b). The Amir shall, after the traditional consultations, appoint the Prime Minister or relieve himof http://confinder.richmond.edu/Bahrain.htm (9 of 27)4/11/2005 11:07:25 AM office by anAmiri decree. The Amir shall also appoint Ministers or relieve them of office by an Amiridecree, upon the recommendations of the Prime Minister.(c). Ministers shall not be appointed from amongst the members of the National Assembly in thefirst legislative term, but they may be appointed from amongst the members of the NationalAssembly or others with effect from the second legislative term. Ministers appointed fromamongst outsiders shall become ex-officio members of the National Assembly. The total numberof ministers shall not exceed 14.(d). The Cabinet shall be reconstituted in the manner set out in this article at the beginning ofevery legislative term of the National Assembly.(e). The Amir shall be the Supreme Commander of the Defense Force.(f). The Amir shall confer Orders of Honour in accordance with the law.(g). Currency shall be minted in the name of the Amir in accordance with the law.(h). The Amir shall protect the legality of the government and the supremacy of law, and shalltake the following oath at a special sitting of the National Assembly: "I swear by Almighty Godto respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, to defend the liberties, interests andproperties of the people, and to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of thecountry".Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 24
  • 25. (i). The Amir shall have an annual privy purse to be determined by a special Amiri decree. Theprivy purse may not be revised throughout the reign of the Amir, and shall thereafter be fixed bylaw.ARTICLE (35)(a). The Amir shall have the right to initiate laws, and he alone shall ratify and promulgate thelaws. Assembly has the power to overrule the Amir in the passing of laws.ARTICLE (73)The National Assembly shall express its wishes to the Government regarding publicmatters. If the Goverment cannot comply with these wishes, it shall state to the Assemblythe reasons therefor. The Assembly may comment once on the Governments statement.(c). Under no circumstances shall the principle of the hereditary rule of Bahrain, the principles ofliberty and equality set forth in this Constitution, as well as Article (2) thereof, be proposed foramendment.Law by Decree No. 14 for 2002 Exercising Political RightsPart 1 Political RightsArticle 3A person is prohibited from practicing political rights if he is sentenced for a crime orincarcerated, until he finishes his sentence.Diaspora entitled to vote in parliamentary elections.An illiterate voter, or a blind person or those with special needs can give their ballot verballybefore the Chairman of the Committee and a member, who will tick the choice of the person andput the ballot in the box.Part 4 Offense in The Referendum and Election processArticle 30Without superceding any other severe punishment that the penal law stipulates or any other law,a person can be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not more than 6 months and finednot more than 500 Bahraini Dinars or any of the above if found guilty of committing any ofthe following acts:7- Published or broadcast false statements about he topic of thereferendum or the conduct of a candidate or his morals intending to influence the outcome of thereferendum or election.Decree-Law No. (47) for the year 2002On the organization of the press, printing and publishing On the organization of the press,printing and publishing:Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 25
  • 26. Article (1) Article (1)Everyone has the right to express his opinion and to publicize it verbally or in writing orotherwise, in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in this law, all withoutcompromising the foundations of the Islamic faith and unity of the people, and not adivisive or sectarian.Response and correctionArticle (60):The editor in chief or editor in charge - if any _ to be published on the owner the right to respondto correct what is said of the facts or previously published statements in the newspapers withinthree days following the receipt of the patch or in the first show of the paper in all editions,whichever located first, and in accordance with the dates printed in the newspaper and must Icznpublishing in the same place and with the same letters that the publication of the article or newsstory or article to be corrected.MENA Election Guide:Decree No. 14 of 2002 governs the electoral process. All Bahraini men and women over the ageof 21 are allowed to vote, as are citizens of GCC countries resident in Bahrain and non-residentswho own property in Bahrain.Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected in 40 separate electoral districts. Thecomposition of these districts has resulted in charges of gerrymandering; the largest districts,mainly Shiite, contain over 12,000 people, while the smallest have only 500 voters. Electiondates must be set 45 days in advance, while election reruns must be announced 30 days inadvance. Before elections, a schedule of eligible voters is published for each district.Bahrain is divided into five governorates, each of which has a ten-member municipal councilpopularly elected.Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Voter Say:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10.Rational for Score:Political content must conform to the preservation, principles, and goals of the kingdom.The monarchy has supreme power over the country.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 26
  • 27. Public association and meetings must not harm the peace and morals of the kingdom. Also, civilsociety organizations must attain a license. Citizens wishing to hold a public rally ordemonstration must obtain a permit.The kingdom imposes fines and imprisonment for anyone acting contrary to the principles andgoals of the kingdom.False statements about the conduct of a political candidate or his morals are not permitted.The Bahrain diaspora are entitled to vote in parliamentary elections.Illiterate voters, blind persons or those with special needs are aided by the kingdom in exercisingtheir right to vote.There are no third-party electoral spending limits.The kingdom’s TV and Radio networks are not required to be impartial.Internet and satellite television is permitted, though they are subject censorship based on content.Electoral districts are subject to gerrymandering, with the largest district having 12,000 Shiitesand the smallest district only 500 citizens.The score of 0 percent for equality of voter say means that the Bahraini laws and regulations onequality of voter say are completely unfair. Though there are Bahraini laws which encourageequality such as laws which encourage women to vote, assist illiterate and blind persons withcasting their ballots, and give Bahraini diaspora the opportunity to vote, these laws are canceledout by the kingdoms severe restrictions on political societies and political content, and thepowerlessness of the elected Council of Deputies over the executive branch of government.Voters who oppose the kingdom are restricted severely in their say.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 27
  • 28. Chapter Five: Audit ResultsChapter five will set out the FDA’s scores for each of the areas of the Bahraini electoral systemas set out above.1. Research and audit results for Bahraini laws and regulations on the political content of mediaincluding newspapers, broadcasters, online media, before, during, and after elections.0/102. Research and audit results for Bahraini Laws and regulations on the equality of candidates andparties influence before, during and after elections.0/103. Research and audit results for Bahraini laws and regulations on electoral finance.0/104. Research and audit results for laws and regulations on the equality of voter say before, during,and after an election.0/10Total score: 0/400 percentFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 28
  • 29. Chapter Six: AnalysisChapter six will provide a brief analysis of the FDA’s findings.Bahrains overall electoral fairness score of 0 percent means that there is complete electoralunfairness in Bahrain, and any elements of electoral fairness are trumped by overall electoralunfairness.The FDAs total 0 percent score for Bahrain is the same as the FDAs total score for Egypt (underMubarak), Iran, Libya (under Gaddafi), and Syria (under Assad).Bahrains electoral and constitutional laws and regulations, which are the foundation for itsdemocracy, are completely undemocratic.Due to complete electoral unfairness and the lack of complete control over the Bahraini people,Bahrain is an authoritarian society in the form of a monarchy (as opposed to a totalitariansociety).The democratic nature of the Bahraini parliament is negated by the powerlessness of the electedCouncil of Deputies over the kingdoms executive branch.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 29
  • 30. Chapter Seven: ConclusionChapter seven will provide a summary of the FDA’s findings.Overall, there is no element of democracy in Bahrain. The monarchy has control over the peoplethrough severe restrictions on political societies and political content, and the powerlessness ofthe elected Council of Deputies.The will of the Bahraini people is left to chance as to whether or not it will be truly representedby the monarchy.Bahraini people who oppose the kingdom are severely restricted and face repercussions from thekingdom including imprisonment and the death penalty.Bahraini society is deficient severely in individual liberty, electoral fairness, and politicalequality.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 30
  • 31. Chapter Eight: RecommendationsChapter eight will set out the FDA’s recommendations on how Bahrain can improve its electoralfairness score and thereby its electoral fairness.The Bahraini people are challenged by the authoritarian rule of the Bahraini monarchy. Due tocomplete electoral unfairness, there are no political mechanisms for the will of the Bahrainipeople to be represented. The kingdom controls public meetings, marches, rallies, civicorganizations, political content, and political societies. The Bahraini kingdom has forced theBahraini people into a corner: either conform to the monarchy or oppose it. With the somewhatrecent Bahraini terrorist law (Law No.58), Bahraini citizens who oppose publicly the monarchymay face the death penalty.Similar to the French Revolution against the French monarchy and the Indian Revolution againstthe British colonial rule, the Bahraini people will have to struggle for change or remainsubservient to the kingdom.The FDA does not support authoritarian rule unless the rule truly represents the will of thepeople. In the case of Bahrain and its monarchical system and recent peaceful public protests andtheir suppression, the FDA believes that the will of the Bahraini people is not truly representedby the monarchy. A society based on authoritarian control is less beneficial to the people aswhole, than a society based truly on the will of the people. The unity of the people is strongerthan the disunity of the people.Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 31
  • 32. References:The following information was consulted and utilized in this audit report:“Bahrain questions three journalists after crackdown” 11 Apr 2011 19:13 Source: ReutersBahrain News Agency http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/aboutbna“Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation is responsible for Bahrain TV turnover as a sectarianprovocation platform”, Bahrain Center for Human RightsBBC News: Bahrain Country Profile,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/country_profiles/790690.stmConstitution of the State of BahrainDecree Law No. (14) for the year 1979 concerning publications and publishingDecree- Law No (16) for 1996DECREE-LAW NO. (17) for 2002 With respect to the Organization of GovernoratesDecree-Law No. (47) for the year 2002 On the organization of the press, printing and publishingOn the organization of the press, printing and publishingLaw by Decree No.14 for 2002 Exercising Political RightsLaw by Decree N0. 32 for 2006 Assembly RightsLaw for Political Societies, 2005Law for Rallies and Demonstrations 2006Law No. 58 OF 2006 With Respect to Protection of the Community against Terrorist ActsMENA Election Guide: BahrainRetooling the [Bahrain] press law, Monday, 5th May 08Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 32
  • 33. AppendixFDA Global Audit Results as of August 2, 2011: FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of political content of the media and broadcasters before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Russia Venezuela France Lebanon Azerbaijan Denmark Finland Sweden United States Canada Argentina Tunisia Yemen Bahrain Camerron Egypt Iran Libya Mexico SyriaFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 33
  • 34. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of candidate and political party influence before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% France Venezuela Finland Lebanon Sweden United States Azerbaijan Argentina Denmark Russia Canada Mexico Bahrian Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Syria Tunisia YemenFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 34
  • 35. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of electoral (campaign) finance <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% France Venezuela Finland Argentina Denmark Lebanon Sweden Tunisia Azerbaijan Cameroon Canada Mexico United States Bahrain Egypt Iran Libya Russia Syria YemenFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 35
  • 36. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of voter influence before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% France Venezuela Argentina Mexico Canada Denmark Finland United States Sweden Lebanon Russia Azerbaijan Bahrain Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Syria Tunisia YemenFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 36
  • 37. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Overall Electoral Fairness Audit Scores <--failing range|passing range --> 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% France Venezuela Finland Lebanon Denmark Russia Sweden Argentina United States Canada Azerbaijan Mexico Tunisia Cameroon Yemen Bahrain Egypt Iran Libya SyriaFoundation for Democratic Advancement | 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Bahrain Page | 37