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GDN Reader's View: Healthy democracy


This refers to ‘Shura Council approves poll ban (GDN, May 14) which stated that ‘former members of dissolved political societies will be banned from contesting national elections later this year.’
As Bahrain is preparing to hold parliamentary election in the coming weeks, the case of barring members of the dissolved political societies from the campaign has become hot downtown gossip.
There is no doubt that the upcoming elections are reflections of democratic rule and show the extent of freedom enjoyed by the people.
However, like any other freedoms, democratic rights including the right to elect has its own limits.
The fact that the government has taken a serious step to dissolve political parties indicates not only the extent to which they have breached the democratic rights but also the degree to which their actions have compromised the very security of the country. So their chance to be involved in the future political life of the country has ended at the courts long time ago.
Of late, our MPs have been busy discussing the matter and came up with the right decision in line with the court rulings. I believe that even if the banned party members were allowed to take part in the upcoming elections, they are unlikely to be elected because they have lost people’s trust.
The decision to ban political entities from taking part in elections has been used by so-called human rights and democracy campaigners as a pretext to criticise the government.
However, many countries have and continue to ban political parties that threaten their democratic practices.
In Europe for example, where the most developed democracy in the world is found, there are guidelines on prohibition and dissolution of political parties such as the Venice Commission of 1999, which states that ‘Prohibition or enforced dissolution of political parties may only be justified in the case of parties which advocate the use of violence or use violence as a political means to overthrow the democratic constitutional order, thereby undermining the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution’.
Haven’t we been exposed to violence of highest degree over the last few years? The Bahrain government decided to dissolve political societies after all tools of peaceful resolution methods and restraints were exploited. The illegal activities of these societies pose grave danger to free and democratic political order.
Bahrain’s democratic reform will continue.
Banning members of dissolved political societies in the upcoming elections is for the sole purpose of maintaining a healthy democracy the country wants to deliver for its citizens.


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