SHURA Council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh bid a tearful farewell to his colleagues yesterday, increasing speculation that he is stepping down from the chamber after more than a decade.
The veteran legislator has headed the upper house of the National Assembly for the past 12 years, spanning three different four-year terms.
However, during the final session of the Shura Council’s term yesterday he said an emotional goodbye.
“My service in the council has been the best time of my life and I will not forget it,” he said after a lengthy pause.
“I wanted to cry and couldn’t hold myself, as my trembling voice betrayed me and led me to tears.
“We have achieved a lot, not just in this four years but throughout my 12 years here.
“I am sorry to anyone who I offended or unknowingly berated.
“A brotherly atmosphere is what made this place strong and contributed to huge efforts in the public interest.
“It is a goodbye, although I don’t want it to feel that way as I will meet everyone again.”
Current Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan is widely tipped to replace Mr Al Saleh as chairman of the Shura Council, whose 40 members are hand-picked by His Majesty King Hamad.
He would follow in the footsteps of his uncle, the late Ibrahim Humaidan, who held the post between 1993 and 2001.
Mr Al Saleh previously served as an MP in the 1973 parliament, but it was dissolved two years later over disagreements about security legislation.
The next parliament was not formed until 2002, a gap of 27 years, amid reforms instituted by the King.
He has also served as Commerce Minister and Municipalities Minister.