Four Bahraini political groups recently ended a conference by warning authorities to prepare for a ‘serious national dialogue between the government and opposition parties in order to reach a solution to the constitutional crisis’. All four groups boycotted the 2002 parliamentary elections. They were protesting against an amendment to the 1973 constitution which split legislative power equally between the elected chamber and the consultative council.

A statement from the MPs said: ‘While we confirm every citizen’s right to express their political views, we also confirm that parliament and the shura [consultative] council are those responsible for constitutional changes according to Article 92 of the constitution.’ It added: ‘The king also has the same right according to Article 35 of the constitution.’