With the current political deadlock in Bahrain’s government nearing the two-year mark, there is newfound hope for a resolution as the major parties have agreed to a regular meetings every Sunday and Wednesday until further notice. With the first goal of regular scheduling having been achieved, the next goal is to build trust amongst party leaders, according to Isa Abdul Rahman, the official spokesperson for what is being called “National Dialogue”
This is the first effort since talks broke down in July 2011, when the government organized a similar effort, only to severely limit the delegation of al-Wefaq, the main opposition party. The other opposition parties boycotted the talks, which the five members of al-Wefaq’s delegation (out of 300 available seats) gave up after only two unfruitful weeks
The efforts at negotiation are especially important since it has been nearly two years since anti-government protests began, with about 80 people being killed since. An independent agency (commissioned by the government ironically) found that the forces used against the nonviolent protesters were excessive. Opposition groups are lobbying for an elected prime minister and a constitutional monarchy, distinct from the current Prime Minister who has been in office since 1971 and is also the king’s uncle.