Constitution of Bahrain

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Bahrain has had two constitutions in its modern history. The first one was promulgated in 1973, and the second one in 2002.

Constitution of 1973[edit]

The constitution of 1973 was written shortly after Bahrain's independence from Britain in 1971. In 1972, the then ruler Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa issued a decree providing for the election of a Constituent Assembly that would be responsible for drafting and ratifying the constitution. The electorate of the constituent assembly was native-born male citizens aged twenty years or older. The constituent assembly consisted of twenty-two elected delegates, plus the twelve members of the Council of Ministers and eight members directly appointed by the emir Shaikh Isa.[1]

The constitution drawn up provided for a unicameral legislature (the National Assembly) consisting of 30 members elected through "universal suffrage" (though franchise was restricted to males), plus fourteen royally-appointed government ministers who are ex officio members. The constitution was enacted by amiri decree in December 1973.[1]

Only one parliamentary election was ever held under the 1973 Constitution (see: Bahraini parliamentary election, 1973) before it was abrogated by the emir Shaikh Isa in 1975. The country was governed under emergency laws from 1975 to 2002.[1] Part One The State[edit]

Article 1 [Islamic State][edit] (a) Bahrain is an Arab Islamic State, independent and fully sovereign, and its people are part of the Arab nation. Neither its sovereignty nor any part of its territory shall be relinquished.

(b) The rule of Bahrain shall be hereditary, the succession to which shall be transmitted from His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa to his eldest son and then to the eldest son of this eldest son and so forth, generation after generation, unless during his lifetime, the Amir appoints one of his sons other than the eldest as his successor, in accordance with the provisions of the Decree of Succession provided for in the next clause.

(c) All rules of succession shall be regulated by a special Amiri decree which shall be of a constitutional nature and thus shall not be amended except in accordance with Article 104 of this Constitution.

(d) The system of government in Bahrain is democratic, under which sovereignty lies with the people, the source of all powers. Sovereignty shall be exercised in the manner specified in this Constitution.

(e) The citizens shall have the right to participate in the public affairs of the State and enjoy political rights, beginning with the right to vote, in accordance with this Constitution and the conditions and procedures set forth in the law.

(f) This Constitution shall not be amended except in part and in the manner provided for therein, and no amendment thereto shall be proposed before the expiry of five years from the effective date of its commencement.

Article 2 [Sharia][edit] Islam shall be the religion of the State, Islamic Sharia a main source of legislation, and Arabic the official language.

Article 3 [Flag, Anthem][edit] The law shall specify the State's flag, emblem, insignia, medals, orders and national anthem.

Part Two Fundamental Constituents of Society[edit] Article 4 [State Principles][edit] Justice underlies the system of government. Co-operation and mutual understanding are firm bonds among citizens. Liberty, equality, security, tranquillity, education, social solidarity and equal opportunities for citizens are the pillars of society guaranteed by the State.

Article 5 [Family][edit] (a) The family is the corner-stone of society and its strength lies in religion, morality and patriotism. The law shall preserve its legal integrity and strengthen its bonds and values, and shall protect motherhood and childhood within the family. The law shall also protect the young and defend them against exploitation and moral, physical and spiritual neglect. The State shall take particular care of the physical, mental and moral growth of youth.

(b) The State shall ensure the accomplishment of necessary social security for citizens in old age, sickness, inability to work, orphanhood, widowhood or unemployment. The State shall also provide them with services of social insurance and medical care, and strive to protect them from ignorance, fear and poverty.

Article 6 [Arab Heritage][edit] The State shall preserve the Arab and Islamic heritage, it shall participate in the furtherance of human civilization, and it shall strive to strengthen ties with the Muslim countries and to bring to fruition the aspirations of the Arab Nation for unity and advancement.

Article 7 [Sciences and Education][edit] (a) The State shall patronize the sciences, literature and the arts, and shall encourage research. It shall ensure educational and cultural services of citizens. Primary education shall be compulsory and free in accordance with the law. The law shall lay down the necessary plan to eliminate illiteracy.

(b) The law shall regulate the various aspects of religious education and attention also be given to the strengthening of the citizen's personality and pride in his Arab Nationalism.

(c) Individuals and bodies may establish private schools under the supervision of the State and in accordance with the law.

(d) Inviolability of the educational institutions shall be guaranteed by the State.

Article 8 [Health][edit] (a) Every citizen shall have the right to health welfare. The State shall care for public health and ensure means of prevention and treatment by establishing various kinds of hospitals and provide medical facilities.

(b) Individuals and bodies may establish hospitals, clinics or infirmaries under the supervision of the State and in accordance with the law.

Article 9 [Property, Work][edit] (a) Property, capital and work, in accordance with the principles of Islamic justice, shall be fundamental constituents of the social structure of the State and the national wealth. They are all individual rights with a social function regulated by the law.

(b) Public property shall be inviolable and its protection shall be the duty of every citizen.

(c) Private property shall be well protected. No one shall be prevented from disposing of his property except within the limits of the law. No property shall be expropriated except in the public interest, in accordance with the law and provided that just compensation is paid.

(d) General confiscation of property shall be prohibited. Confiscation of private property as a penalty may not be inflicted except by a court judgement and in the circumstances specified by the law.

(e) The law shall regulate, on an economic basis with due regard being given to social justice, the relationship between landlords and tenants.

(f) The State shall strive to provide housing for citizens with limited income.

(g) The State shall make the necessary arrangements to ensure the utilization of arable land in a productive manner, and shall endeavour to raise the standard of farmers. The law shall specify the means whereby assistance and ownership of land are granted to small farmers.

Article 10 [Economy][edit] (a) The national economy shall be based on social justice. It shall be founded on fair co-operation between public and private sectors. Its aim shall be economic development within a well conceived plan and achievement of prosperity for citizens, all within the limits of law.

(b) The State shall strive for the attainment of Arab economic unity.

Article 11 [Natural Resources][edit] All natural resources shall be the property of the state. It shall ensure their preservation and proper utilization, due regard being given to the requirements of the State's security and national economy.

Article 12 [Solidarity, Duties][edit] The State shall ensure the solidarity of society in shouldering burdens resulting from disasters and natural calamities, and shall provide compensation for damages or injuries suffered by people as a result of a war or as a result of performing their military duties.

Article 13 [Work][edit] (a) Work shall be the duty of every citizen necessitated by personal dignity and public good. Every citizen shall have the right to work and to choose his type of work in accordance with public order and moral standards.

(b) The State shall ensure that work is made available to the citizens and that its terms are equitable.

(c) No forced labour shall be imposed on anyone except in circumstances specified by the law for national emergency and with just remuneration, or as an implementation of a judicial decision.

(d) Relations between employers and employees shall be regulated by the law on an economic basis, due regard being given to the principles of social justice.

Article 14 [Savings, Credit][edit] The State shall encourage co-operation and saving, and supervise the regulation of credit.

Article 15 [Taxes, Duties, Offices][edit] (a) Taxes and public imports shall be based on the principles of social justice, and the payment thereof shall be duty in accordance with the law.

(b) Citizens shall have equal opportunities to hold public offices in accordance with the conditions specified by the law.

Part Three Public Rights and Duties[edit] Article 17 [Citizenship][edit] (a) Citizenship shall be defined by the law, and no person enjoying citizenship by origin may be deprived of it except in cases of high treason and dual nationality and in accordance with the conditions specified by the law.

(b) Citizenship may not be withdrawn from a naturalised citizen except within the limits of the law.

(c) No citizen shall be deported from Bahrain, nor shall he be denied re-entry.

Article 18 [Human Dignity][edit] People are equal in human dignity, and citizens shall be equal in public rights and duties before the law, without discrimination as to race, origin, language, religion or belief.

Article 19 [Personal Liberty][edit] (a) Personal liberty is guaranteed in accordance with the law.

(b) No person shall be arrested, detained, imprisoned, searched or compelled to reside in a specified place, nor shall the residence of any person or his liberty to choose his place of residence or his liberty of movement be restricted, except in accordance with the law and under the supervision of the judicial authorities.

(c) No detention or imprisonment shall be imposed in places other than those specified in prison laws. In these places health and social welfare shall be observed, and they shall be subject to the supervision of the judicial authorities.

(d) No person shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, enticement or degrading treatment, and the law shall provide the penalty for these acts.

Any statement or confession shall be null and void if it is proved to have been made under duress or enticement or degrading treatment of threat thereof.

Article 20 [Penalty][edit] (a) No crime or penalty may be established except by virtue of law, and no penalty may be imposed except for offences committed after the relevant law has come

(b) Penalty is personal.

(c) An accused person shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a legal trial in which the necessary guarantees for the exercise of his right of defence in all the stages of investigation and trial are ensured in accordance with the law.

(d) No physical or moral injury shall be inflicted on an accused person.

(e) A council for the defence of any person accused of a felony shall be appointed with the approval of the accused.

(f) The right to trial shall be guaranteed in accordance with the law.

Article 21 [Asylum][edit] Extradition of political refugees is prohibited.

Article 22 [Conscience, Religion][edit] Freedom of conscience is absolute. The State shall guarantee the inviolability of places of worship and the freedom to perform religious rites and to hold religious processions and meetings in accordance with the customs observed in the country.

Article 23 [Expression, Science][edit] Freedom of speech and freedom to carry out scientific research shall be guaranteed. Every person shall have the right to express and propagate his opinion in words or in writing or by any other means, in accordance with the conditions and procedures specified by the law.

Article 24 [Press][edit] Freedom of the press, printing and publication shall be guaranteed in accordance with the conditions and procedure specified by the law.

Article 25 [Home][edit] Places of residence shall be inviolable. They may not be entered or searched without the permission of their occupants except in the circumstances and manner specified by the law.

Article 26 [Communication][edit] Freedom of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and the secrecy thereof shall be guaranteed. No communications shall be censored nor the contents thereof revealed except in cases of necessity prescribed by the law and in accordance with the procedures and guarantees stated therein.

Article 27 [Associations, Trade Unions][edit] Freedom to form associations and trade unions on a national basis and for lawful objectives and by peaceful means shall be guaranteed in accordance with the conditions and procedures prescribed by the law. No one shall be compelled to join or remain in any association or union.

Article 28 [Assembly][edit] (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 the conditions and procedures prescribed by the law, provided that their purpose and means are peaceful and not contrary to morale.

Article 29 [Petition][edit] Any individual can address the public authorities in writing and with his signature. Only duly constituted organizations and corporate bodies shall have the right to address the public authorities collectively.

Article 30 [Military Service][edit] (a) Peace shall be the objective of the State, and the safety of the country shall be part of the safety of the Great Arab Homeland, and defending it shall be the duty of every citizen. Military service is an honour for the citizens and regulated by law.

(b) The State alone shall establish armed forces and public security bodies. Duties of this kind shall be entrusted only to citizens except in cases of dire necessity and in the manner regulated by the law.

(c) Full or partial mobilization of forces shall be regulated by the law.

Article 31 [Restrictions][edit] Public rights and liberties laid down in this Constitution shall neither be regulated nor defined except by a law, or in accordance therewith. Such regulation or definition shall not affect the essence of the right or liberty.

Part Four Powers[edit] [Chapter 0 General Provision][edit] Article 32 [System of Government][edit] (a) The system of government shall be based on the principle of separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers, functioning in co-operation with each other in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. None of the three powers may relinquish all or part of its competence prescribed in this Constitution. However, legislative authorization, limited for a certain period and in respect of a specified matter or matters, may be made, and shall be practised in accordance with the law of authorization and the condition thereof.

(b) Legislative power shall be vested in the Amir and the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution; and the Executive power shall be vested in the Amir, the Cabinet and the Ministers. Judicial decrees shall be passed in the name of the Amir, all in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Chapter I The Amir[edit] Article 33 [Head of State, Government][edit] (a) The Amir is the Head of the State, his person shall be immune and inviolable, and he shall exercise his powers through his Ministers who shall collectively report to him on the general policy 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 him of office by an Amiri decree. The Amir shall also appoint Ministers or relieve them of office by an Amiri decree, upon the recommendations of the Prime Minister.

(c) Ministers shall not be appointed from amongst the members of the National Assembly in the first legislative term, but they may be appointed from amongst the members of the National Assembly or others with effect from the second legislative term. Ministers appointed from amongst outsiders shall become ex officio members of the National Assembly. 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 of every legislative term of the National Assembly.

(e) The Amir shall be the Supreme Commander of the Defence 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 shall take the following oath at a special sitting of the National Assembly:

"I swear by Almighty God to respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, to defend the liberties, interests and properties of the people, and to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the country".

(i) The Amir shall have an annual privy purse to be determined by a special Amiri decree. The privy purse may not be revised throughout the reign of the Amir, and shall thereafter be fixed by the law.

Article 34 [Deputy][edit] (a) In the event of his absence outside the country and the inability of the Heir Apparent to act as deputy for him, the Amir shall appoint by an Amiri Order a deputy who shall exercise his powers during his absence. The said Amiri Order may include a specified arrangement for the exercise of powers on behalf of the Amir, or a limitation on their scope.

(b) The provisions of item (b) of Article 86 of this Constitution shall apply to the Amir's deputy. If the Amir's deputy is a Minister or a member of the National Assembly he shall not take part in the functions of his Ministry or the National Assembly during the period he is acting as deputy for the Amir.

(c) Before assuming his powers, the Amir's deputy shall take the oath set forth in the previous article, with the following phrase added thereto: "and be loyal to the Amir". The oath shall be taken in the National Assembly if it is in session, otherwise it shall be taken before the Amir. The oath by the Heir Apparent shall be taken only once even if he acts as a deputy for the Amir more than once.

Article 35 [Legislation][edit] (a) The Amir shall have the right to initiate laws, and he alone shall ratify and promulgate the laws.

(b) A bill shall be considered to have been ratified and shall be promulgated by the Amir if a period of thirty days from the date of its submission by the National Assembly to the Amir has expired without the Amir returning it to the National Assembly for re-consideration.

(c) If, within the period prescribed in the preceding clause the Amir returns the bill, by a decree stating the grounds therefor, to the National Assembly for re-consideration, then it shall be decided whether such re-consideration should take place during the same or the next session.

(d) If the Assembly re-confirms the bill by a majority vote of its members, the Amir shall ratify and promulgate the bill within one month from the date of the re- confirmation.

Article 36 [War][edit] (a) Offensive war is unlawful. The declaration of defensive war shall be made by an Amiri decree which shall be referred to the National Assembly immediately after the declaration has been made, for decision.

(b) Martial law shall be proclaimed only by law, unless otherwise dictated by urgent necessity to be by a decree giving the justification therefor, provided that the matter shall be referred to the National Assembly within two weeks for decision. In all cases the period of martial law shall not exceed three months, but this period may be renewed in whole or in part once or more, provided that approval by a majority vote of the members constituting the National Assembly has been obtained. If the proclamation or renewal of martial law takes place during the period in which the National Assembly is dissolved, the matter shall be referred to the new Assembly at its first meeting.

Article 37 [Treaties][edit] (1) The Amir shall conclude treaties by decree and shall transmit them immediately to the National Assembly with the appropriate statement. A treaty shall have the force of law after it has been signed, ratified and published in the Official Gazette.

(2) However, treaties of peace and alliance; treaties concerning the territory of the State, its natural resources or sovereign rights or public or private rights of citizens; treaties of commerce, navigation and residence; and treaties which entail additional expenditure not provided for in the budget of the State, or which involve amendment to the laws of Bahrain, shall come into effect only when made by a law.

(3) In no case may treaties include secret provisions contradicting those declared.

Article 38 [Decrees][edit] (1) Should necessity arise for urgent measures to be taken while the National Assembly is not in session or is dissolved, the Amir may issue decrees in respect thereof which shall have the force of law, provided that they shall not be contrary to the Constitution or the appropriations included in the budget law.

(2) Such decrees shall be referred to the National Assembly within fifteen days following their issue if the Assembly is in session. If it is dissolved or its legislative term has expired such decrees shall be referred to the next Assembly at its first meeting. If they are not thus referred they shall retroactively cease to have the force of a law without the necessity of any decision to that effect. If they are referred and the Assembly does not confirm them, they shall also retroactively cease to have the force of law, unless the Assembly approves their validity for the preceding period or settles in some other way the effects arising therefrom.

Article 39 [Administrative Decrees][edit] (a) The Amir shall by decrees, issue the regulations necessary for the execution of laws without amending or suspending such laws or making any exemption from their execution. A law may describe a less formal instrument than a decree for the issue of the regulations necessary for its execution.

(b) The Amir shall, by decrees, issue regulations for public order and health, and regulations necessary for the organization of public services and administration, not conflicting with any law.

Article 40 [Officers][edit] The Amir shall appoint and remove civil and military officials and diplomatic representatives to foreign countries and international organizations in accordance with the law and in the manner prescribed therein. He shall also accept credentials of the representatives of foreign countries and organizations.

Article 41 [Pardon][edit] The Amir may, by decree grant a pardon or commute a sentence. However, amnesty shall not be granted except by a law and then only in respect of offences committed prior to the proposal of the amnesty.

Chapter II Legislative Power[edit] Article 42 [National Assembly][edit] No law may be promulgated unless it has been passed by the National Assembly and ratified by the Amir.

Article 43 [Composition][edit] The National Assembly shall be composed of:

(a) Thirty members elected directly by universal suffrage and secret ballot, in accordance with the provisions of the electoral law. The number of these members shall be increased to forty with effect from the elections for the second legislative term. Electoral constituencies shall be determined by the law.

(b) The Ministers by virtue of their portfolios.

Article 44 [Eligibility][edit] A member of the National Assembly must:

(a) have been registered in one of the electoral rolls, not be suspended from exercising his right to 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 [Term][edit] (1) The term of the National Assembly shall be four calendar years commencing from the date of its first meeting. Elections for the new Assembly shall take place within two months preceding the expiry of the said term, due regard being given to the provisions of Article 65 of this Constitution.

(2) Members whose term of office expires may be re-elected. The term of the National Assembly 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 46 [Vacancies][edit] If, for any reason, a seat in the National Assembly becomes vacant before the end of the term, the vacancy shall be filled by election within two months from the date on which the Assembly declares the vacancy. The term of the new member shall last until the end of that of his predecessor. If the vacancy occurs within six months immediately prior to the expiry of the legislative term of the Assembly no successor shall be elected.

Article 47 [Sessions][edit] The National Assembly shall have an annual session of not less than eight months. The said session may not be prorogued before the budget has been approved.

Article 48 [Initial Session][edit] The Assembly shall start its ordinary session during the month of October of every year upon a convocation by the Amir. If the decree of convocation is not issued before the first of the said month, the time for the meeting shall be deemed 9 a.m. on the third Saturday of that month. If such a day happens to be an official holiday, the Assembly shall meet in the morning of the first day following the holiday.

Article 49 [Special Sessions][edit] Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding two Articles, the Amir shall summon the National Assembly to hold its first meeting within two weeks from the end of the general election. If the decree of convocation is not issued within the said period, the Assembly shall be deemed to have been convoked for the morning of the day immediately following these two weeks, due regard being given to the provision of the second paragraph of the preceding Article. If the date of the meeting of the Assembly falls after the annual date mentioned in Article 48 of the Constitution, the duration of the session specified in Article 47 herein shall be reduced by the difference between the said two dates.

Article 50 [Extraordinary Sessions][edit] (1) The National Assembly shall, by decree, be called to an extraordinary session if the Amir deems it necessary, or upon the request of the majority of the members of the Assembly.

(2) In an extraordinary session, the Assembly may not consider matters other than those for which it has been convened except with the consent of the Government.

Article 51 [Announcement][edit] The Amir shall announce the prorogation of ordinary and extraordinary sessions, by a decree.

Article 52 [Time and Place][edit] Every meeting held by the National Assembly at a time or place other than that assigned for its meeting shall be invalid, and resolutions passed thereat shall be null and void.

Article 53 [Oath of Office][edit] Before assuming their duties in the Assembly or its committees, members of the National Assembly, 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 the Constitution and the laws of the State, to defend the liberties, interests and properties of the people and to discharge my duties honestly and truthfully".

Article 54 [Speaker][edit] (1) The National Assembly shall elect at its first sitting and for the duration of its term a speaker, Deputy Speaker and a Secretary from amongst its members. If any office becomes vacant the Assembly shall elect a successor for the remainder of its term.

(2) In all cases election shall be by an absolute majority vote of the members present. If this majority vote is not attained in the first ballot, another election shall be held between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes. If more than one candidate receives an equal number of votes in the second place, all such candidates shall participate in the second ballot. In this case the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes shall be elected. If there is a tie in this last ballot, the choice shall be by lot.

(3) The Prime Minister shall preside over the first sitting until the Speaker has been elected.

Article 55 [Committees][edit] The Assembly shall form, within the first week of its annual session, the committees necessary for its functions. These committees may discharge their duties during the recess of the Assembly with a view to submitting their recommendations to it when it meets.

Article 56 [Publicity][edit] Sittings of the National Assembly shall be public. However, they may be held in camera upon the request of the Government, the Speaker of the Assembly or ten of its members. The debate on such request shall be held in camera.

Article 57 [Election Disputes][edit] The Supreme Civil Court of Appeal shall be the competent authority to deal with election disputes of the National Assembly, but this competence may be transferred to any higher court which may be set up by law.

Article 58 [Resignations][edit] The National Assembly shall be the competent authority to accept resignation of its members, and no resignation shall be considered final except from the time the Assembly has decided to accept it.

Article 59 [Quorum][edit] (1) For a meeting of the National Assembly to be valid, more than half of its members must be present. Resolutions shall be passed by an absolute majority of the members present, except in cases where a special majority is required.

(2) When the votes are equally divided, the motion shall be deemed rejected.

Article 60 [Program][edit] Immediately upon its formation, every Cabinet shall present its program to the National Assembly, and the Assembly may make comments with regard to such a program.

Article 61 [Opening Speech][edit] (1) The Amir shall open the annual session of the National Assembly whereupon he shall deliver an Amiri Speech reviewing the state of affairs of the country and the most important public matters which happened during the preceding year, and outlining the projects and reforms the Government plans to undertake during the coming year.

(2) The Amir may depute the Prime Minister to open the Assembly or to deliver the Amiri Speech.

Article 62 [Responding Speech][edit] The National Assembly shall choose, from amongst its members, a committee to draft the reply to the Amiri Speech which will embody the comments and wishes of the Assembly. After the reply has been approved by the Assembly, it shall be submitted to the Amir.

Article 63 [Representation][edit] (1) (a) A member of the National Assembly represents the entire people. He shall safeguard the public interest and shall not be subject to any authority in the discharge of his duties in the Assembly or in its committees.

(b) A member of the National Assembly shall be free to express any views or opinions in the Assembly or in its committees, and under no circumstances shall he be held liable in respect thereof.

(c) Except in cases of flagrante delicto, no measures of detention, investigation, search, arrest, imprisonment or any other penal measure may be taken against a member while the Assembly is in session without the authorization of the Assembly. If the National Assembly is not in session, authorization shall be obtained from the Speaker of the Assembly.

(2) If the Assembly does not give a decision regarding a request for authorization within one month from the date of its receipt, permission shall be deemed to have been granted.

(3) The Assembly shall be notified of any measure that may be taken during its session in accordance with the foregoing paragraph. The Assembly shall always, at its first meeting, be notified of any measure taken against any of its members during its annual recess.

Article 64 [Adjournment][edit] The Amir may, by a decree, adjourn the meeting of the National Assembly for a period not exceeding one month. Adjournment may be repeated during the same session with the consent of the Assembly, and then once only. The period of adjournment shall not be counted in computing the duration of the session provided for in Article 47 of this Constitution.

Article 65 [Dissolution][edit] (1) The Amir may dissolve the National Assembly by a decree in which the reasons for dissolution shall be indicated.

(2) However, dissolutions of the Assembly may not be repeated for the same reason.

(3) In the event of dissolution, elections for the new Assembly shall be held within a period not exceeding two months from the date of dissolution.

(4) If the elections are not held within the said period, the dissolved Assembly shall be restored to its full constitutional authority and shall meet immediately as if the dissolution had not taken place. The Assembly shall then continue functioning until a new Assembly is elected.

Article 66 [Questions][edit] Every member of the National Assembly may put to the Prime Minister and to Ministers, questions with a view to clarifying matters falling within their competence. The questioner alone shall have the right to comment once on the answer, and if the Minister adds something new then the right of the member shall be renewed.

Article 67 [Interpellations][edit] (1) Every member of the National Assembly may address to the Prime Minister and to Ministers interpellations with regard to matters falling within their competence.

(2) The debate on such interpellations shall not take place until at least eight days have elapsed after its presentation, unless the Minister concerned agrees to hold the debate earlier.

(3) An interpellation may lead to the vote of confidence being put to the Assembly in accordance with the provisions of Articles 68 and 69 of this Constitution.

Article 68 [Ministerial Reports][edit] (1) (a) Every Minister shall report to the National Assembly on the affairs of his Ministry.

(b) The question of confidence in a Minister may not be raised except upon his request or upon demand signed by ten members following a debate on an interpellation addressed to him. The Assembly may not make its decision upon such a request before the lapse of seven days from the presentation thereof.

(c) If the Assembly passes a vote of no confidence against a Minister he shall be considered to have resigned his office as from the date of the vote of no confidence and shall submit his formal resignation immediately.

(2) Withdrawal of confidence from a Minister shall be by a majority vote of the members constituting the National Assembly excluding Ministers.

(3) In all cases Ministers shall not participate in the vote of confidence.

Article 69 [Questions of Confidence][edit] (a) The question of confidence in the Prime Minister shall not be raised before the National Assembly, unless out of necessity, he holds a portfolio with the premierships, and then he may be questioned about the affairs of such portfolio like any other minister.

(b) If two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly decide, in the manner specified in Article 68 of this Constitution, that they cannot co-operate with the Prime Minister, the matter shall be submitted to the Amir for settlement. The Amir may either relieve the Prime Minister of office and appoint a new Cabinet or dissolve the National Assembly. If the Assembly is dissolved and the office of the said Prime Minister is renewed but the new Assembly decide by a majority vote of the members constituting the National Assembly that it cannot co-operate with the said Prime Minister, he shall be considered to have resigned his office as from the date of the decision of the Assembly in this respect and a new Cabinet shall be formed.

Article 70 [Vacancy of Prime Minister's Office][edit] If, for any reason, the Prime Minister vacates his office he shall continue to discharge the urgent business thereof until his successor is appointed.

Article 71 [Initiative][edit] A member of the National Assembly shall have the right to initiate bills. A bill initiated by a member and rejected by the Assembly may not be re-introduced during the same session except with the approval of the Government.

Article 72 [Discussion][edit] (1) Upon a request signed by at least five members, any subject of general interest may be put to the National Assembly for discussion with a view to securing clarification of the Government's policy and to exchange views thereon.

(2) All other members shall also have the right to participate in the discussion.

Article 73 [Wishes][edit] The National Assembly shall express its wishes to the Government regarding public matters. If the Government cannot comply with these wishes, it shall state to the Assembly the reasons therefor. The Assembly may comment once on the Government's statement.

Article 74 [Committees of Enquiry][edit] The National Assembly shall at all times have the right to set up committees of enquiry or to depute one or more of its members to investigate any matter within the assembly's competence as prescribed in the Constitution. Ministers and all Government officials must produce testimonials, documents and statements requested from them.

Article 75 [Committee for Petitions][edit] (1) The Assembly shall set up, among its annual standing committees, a special committee to deal with petitions and complaints submitted to the Assembly by citizens. The committee shall seek explanation thereon from the competent authorities and shall inform the person concerned of the result.

(2) A member of the National Assembly shall not interfere with the work of either the Judicial or the Executive Power.

Article 76 [Ministerial Right to Speak][edit] The Prime Minister and Ministers shall be given the floor whenever they ask for it. They may call for assistance upon any senior officials or depute them to speak on their behalf. The Assembly may ask for a Minister to be present whenever a matter relating to his Minister is under discussion. The Cabinet shall be represented in the sittings of the Assembly by the Prime Minister and by some Ministers.

Article 77 [Law of Procedure][edit] (a) The law shall prescribe the procedure of the National Assembly and its committees and the rules pertaining to discussion, voting, questions, interpellation and all other functions prescribed in the Constitution. The law shall also prescribe the sanctions to be imposed on any member who violates order or absents himself from the meetings of the Assembly or the committees without good cause or legitimate reason.

(b) The National Assembly may make necessary regulations complementary to the law referred to in the preceding clause.

Article 78 [Order][edit] The maintenance of order in the National Assembly shall be the responsibility of its Speaker. The Assembly shall have a special guard under the authority of the Speaker of the Assembly. No other armed force may enter the Assembly or be stationed close to its gate unless so required by the Speaker.

Article 79 [Remuneration][edit] Remuneration of the members of the National Assembly shall be fixed by a law. In the event of a revision of the said remuneration, such revision shall not take effect until the next legislative term.

Article 80 [Incompatibilities][edit] (1) Membership of the National Assembly shall be incompatible with public office except in the case of Ministers. In such cases, the right to the remuneration for membership and the right to the salary of the portfolio shall not be combined.

(2) The law shall specify other cases of incompatibility.

Article 81 [Economic Incompatibilities][edit] (1) During his term, a member of the National Assembly shall not be appointed to the board of directors of a company, nor shall he participate in concessions granted by the Government for by public bodies, except in those cases prescribed by the law.

(2) Further, during the said term he shall not buy or rent any property of the State nor shall he let, sell or barter any of his property to the State, except by public auction or tender, or in compliance with the system of compulsory acquisition.

Article 82 [Decorations][edit] During their term, members of the National Assembly with the exception of Ministers may not be awarded decorations.

Chapter III Executive Power[edit] Section I The Cabinet[edit] Article 83 [Eligibility][edit] (a) A Minister shall satisfy the qualifications laid down in Article 44 of this Constitution. All Provisions regarding Ministers shall apply to the Prime Minister unless otherwise stated.

(b) Remuneration of the Prime Minister and Ministers shall be determined by law.

Article 84 [Oath of Office][edit] Before assuming office, the Prime Minister and Ministers shall take before the Amir the oath specified in Article 53 of this Constitution.

Article 85 [Powers][edit] (a) The Cabinet shall have control over the departments of the State. It shall formulate the general policy of the Government, pursue its execution and supervise the functioning of the Government departments.

(b) The Amir shall preside over the meetings of the Cabinet which he attends.

(c) The Prime Minister shall supervise the functions and procedures of the Cabinet. He shall be responsible for the implementation of the Cabinet's decisions and the co-ordination among the various ministries, and to ensure that their functions are integrated.

(d) The relinquishment of the position of the Prime Minister for any reason shall involve the relinquishment of all ministerial positions by the Ministers.

(e) Deliberations of the Cabinet shall be secret. Resolutions shall be passed only when the majority of its members are present and with the approval of the majority of those present. In case of an equal division of votes, the side on which the Prime Minister has voted shall prevail. Unless they resign, the minority shall abide by the opinion of the majority. Resolutions of the Cabinet shall be submitted to the Amir for ratification in cases where the issue of a decree is required.

Article 86 [Policy, Directives, Incompatibilities][edit] (a) Every Minister shall supervise the affairs of his Ministry and shall execute therein the general policy of the Government. He shall also formulate directives for the Ministry and supervise their execution.

(b) While in office, a Minister shall not hold any other public office or practice, even indirectly, any extragovernmental profession or undertake any industrial, commercial or financial business. He shall not participate in any concession granted by the Government or by public bodies or emulate the ministerial post with membership of the board of directors of any company, except as a representative of the Government and without remuneration. Further, during the same period, a Minister shall not buy or take on hire any property of the State even by public auction, nor shall he let, sell or barter any of his property to the State.

Article 87 [Supervision of Self-Government][edit] (a) The law shall regulate general and municipal self-government bodies in such a way as to ensure their independence under the direction and supervision of the State.

(b) The State shall direct bodies of public interest in such a way that they conform to the general policy of the State and the benefit of the citizens.

Section II Financial Affairs[edit] Article 88 [Taxation][edit] (a) No general tax may be established, amended or abolished except by law. No-one may be exempted, wholly or partially, from the payment of such taxes except in the cases specified by the law. No-one may be required to pay any other tax, fee or imposition except within the limits of the law.

(b) The law shall prescribe rules for the collection of taxes, fees and other forms of public funds and the procedure for their expenditure.

(c) The law shall lay down rules for the protection of State properties, their administration, the conditions of their disposal, and the limits within which any of these properties may be relinquished.

Article 89 [Public Loans][edit] (a) Public loans shall be contracted by law. The State may grant or guarantee a loan by a law, or within the limits of the funds appropriated for this purpose in the budget.

(b) Local bodies such as municipalities or public bodies may grant, borrow or guarantee loans in accordance with their own regulations.

Article 90 [Budget][edit] (a) The fiscal year shall be fixed by a law.

(b) The Government shall draw up the annual budget, comprising the revenue and expenditure of the State, and submit it to the National Assembly for examination and approval, at least two months before the end of each current fiscal year.

(c) The budget shall be discussed in the National Assembly part by part. None of the public revenues may be allocated for a specific purpose except by a law.

(d) The budget shall be issued by a law.

(e) If the budget law has not been promulgated before the beginning of the fiscal year, the preceding budget shall be applied until the new one is issued, and revenues shall be collected and disbursements made in accordance with the law in force at the end of the preceding year.

However, if the National Assembly has approved one or more parts of the new budget, they shall be put into effect.

(f) In no case shall the maximum estimates of expenditure, included in the budget law or the laws amending it, be exceeded.

Article 91 [Expenditure][edit] Any expenditure not included in the budget, or in excess of the budget appropriations, as well as the transfer of any funds from one part of the budget to another, shall be effected by a law.

Article 92 [Funds][edit] (a) Funds for more than one fiscal year may be appropriated by a law if the nature of the expenditure so requires. In this case, each annual successive budget shall include the funds allocated for that year in the way established by the said law.

(b) An extraordinary budget valid for more than one fiscal year may be drawn up separately for the expenditure referred to in the preceding item.

Article 93 [New Taxes][edit] The budget law may not include any provision for establishing a new tax, increasing an existing law, or evading the issue of a law on a matter in respect of which this Constitution provides that its regulation shall be by a law.

Article 94 [Account][edit] The final account of the financial affairs of the State for the preceding year shall be submitted to the National Assembly within the five months following the end of the fiscal year. The ratification of the final account shall be by a decision of the National Assembly, together with its comments.

Article 95 [Law on Budget Procedures][edit] The law shall prescribe the provisions of both the independent and the supplementary general budgets and the final accounts thereof to which the provisions regarding the budget of the State and the final account thereof shall be applied. The law shall also prescribe the provisions of the budget and the final accounts thereof of the municipalities and the public bodies.

Article 96 [Draft of Budget][edit] Together with the draft annual budget, the Government shall submit to the National Assembly a statement on the financial and economic position of the State and arrangements made to implement the appropriation of the budget in effect and the effect thereof on the new draft budget.

Article 97 [Auditing][edit] A financial control and audit commission shall be established by a law, which shall ensure its independence. The commission shall be attached to the National Assembly and shall assist the Government and the National Assembly in controlling the collection of the State revenues and the disbursement of its expenditures within the limits of the budget. The commission shall submit to both the Government and the National Assembly an annual report on its activities and its observations.

Article 98 [Concessions, Monopolies][edit] (a) No concession for exploitation of either a natural resource or a public service may be granted except by a law and for a limited period. In this respect the preparatory measures shall facilitate the operations of prospecting and exploration and ensure publicity and competition.

(b) No monopoly shall be granted except by a law for a limited period.

Article 99 [Currency, Banking, Standards][edit] The law shall regulate currency and banking and determine standards, weights and measures.

Article 100 [Salaries][edit] The law shall regulate salaries, pensions, compensation, subsidies and gratuities which are a charge on the State treasury.

Chapter IV Judicial Power[edit] Article 101 [Independence][edit] (a) The honour of the judiciary and the integrity and impartiality of judges are the bases of rule and a guarantee of rights and liberties.

(b) In the administration of justice judges shall not be subject to any authority. No interference whatsoever shall be allowed in the conduct of justice. The law shall guarantee the independence of the judiciary and shall state the guarantees and provisions relating to the judges.

(c) The law shall specify the rules for public prosecution, rendering of legal opinions, drafting of legislation and representation of the State before the courts and before those who are engaged in these matters.

(d) The law shall regulate the legal profession.

Article 102 [Courts][edit] (a) The law shall regulate the various kinds and degrees of courts and specify their functions and jurisdictions.

(b) The jurisdiction of courts martial shall be restricted to military crimes committed by members of the armed and security forces and shall not extend to others except during the time of martial law and within the limits determined by law.

(c) Sittings of the courts shall be public save in exceptional cases prescribed by the law.

(d) A Supreme Council of the judiciary shall be formed by a law which shall supervise the functions of the Courts and the offices relating thereto.

The law shall specify the jurisdiction of the said Council over the functional affairs of both the judiciary and the public prosecution.

Article 103 [Constitutional Jurisdiction][edit] (1) The law shall specify the judicial body competent to decide upon disputes relating to the constitutionality of laws and regulations and shall determine its jurisdiction and procedure.

(2) The law shall ensure the right of both the Government and interested parties to challenge the constitutionality of laws and regulations before the said body.

(3) If the said body decides that a law or a regulation is unconstitutional it shall be considered null and void.

[Part Five] General and Final Provisions[edit] Article 104 [Amendments][edit] (a) Notwithstanding the provision of Article 35 of this Constitution, for an amendment to be made to any provision of this Constitution, it is stipulated that it shall be passed by a majority vote of two-thirds of the members constituting the Assembly and ratified by the Amir.

(b) If a proposed amendment to the Constitution is rejected, it shall not be put forward again before the lapse of one year from the time of its rejection.

(c) Under no circumstances shall the principle of the hereditary rule of Bahrain, the principle of liberty and equality set forth in this Constitution, as well as Article 2 thereof, be proposed for amendment.

(d) The powers of the Amir, specified in this Constitution, may not be proposed for amendment when a Deputy Amir is acting for him.

Article 105 [Former Treaties and Laws][edit] (a) The application of this Constitution shall not affect treaties and conventions previously concluded by Bahrain with other States and international organizations.

(b) All provisions of laws, decrees, regulations, orders and decision in effect upon the coming of this Constitution into force, shall continue to be applicable unless amended or repealed in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this Constitution, provided that they are not contrary to any of its provisions.

Article 106 [Official Gazette][edit] Laws shall be published in the Official Gazette within two weeks of their promulgation and shall come into effect one month after their publication. The latter period may be extended or reduced for any law by a special provision included in it.

Article 107 [Coming Into Force][edit] Laws shall apply to that which takes place after the date of their coming into force, and thus shall have no effect in respect of that which has taken place before such date. However, in other penal matters, a law may, with the approval of a majority vote of the members constituting the National Assembly, prescribe otherwise.

Article 108 [Martial Law][edit] No provision of this Constitution may be suspended except when martial law is in force and within the limits specified by the law. Under no circumstances shall the meetings of the National Assembly be suspended, nor shall the immunities of its members be interfered with, during such period.

Article 109 [Promulgation of the Constitution][edit] This Constitution shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into force as from the date of the meeting of the National Assembly which shall be not later than the Sixteenth Day of December, 1973.


Constitution of 2002[edit]

After the death of the Amir Shaikh Isa Al Khalifa in 1999, his throne was taken over by his son Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Seeking to bring an end to the 1990s uprising in Bahrain, he announced a new set of democratic reforms, including a promise to return to constitutional rule.

In 2001 His Majesty King Hamad put forward the National Action Charter which would return the country to constitutional rule. However the opposition was opposed to the Charter's call for an amendment to the 1973 Constitution, changing the legislature from unicameral to bicameral. The Charter stated that "the legislature will consist of two chambers, namely one that is constituted through free, direct elections whose mandate will be to enact laws, and a second one that would have people with experience and expertise who would give advice as necessary." The opposition groups deemed this statement to be too ambiguous, and remained opposed to the Charter.

His Majesty King Hamad responded by holding a highly publicized meeting with the spiritual leaders of the Shia Islamist opposition. He signed a document clarifying that the only the elected lower house of the parliament would have legislative power, while the appointed upper house would have a strictly advisory role. Upon this assurance, the main opposition groups accepted the Charter and called for a 'Yes' vote in the national referendum. The Charter was accepted in the 2001 referendum with 98.4% voting 'Yes' for it.

However, in 2002 His Majesty King Hamad promulgated the 2002 Constitution, without any public consultation, in which both the elected and the royally-appointed chambers of parliament were given equal legislative powers, going back on his public promise of 2001. As a result, the parliamentary elections due to be held later that year were boycotted by a group of four political societies; Al Wefaq, a Shia Islamist group, thought to be the most popular political society in the country, National Democratic Action, the largest Leftist political society, Islamic Action Society, a marginal Shia Islamist society, and the Nationalist Democratic Rally Society, a marginal Arab Nationalist society.

§[Preamble] Foreword to the Constitution[edit] In the name of God on high, and with His blessing, and with His help, we Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Bahrain, in line with our determination, certainty, faith, and awareness of our national, pan-Arab and international responsibilities; and in acknowledgment of our obligations to God, our obligations to the homeland and the citizens, and our commitment to fundamental principles and our responsibility to Mankind,

And in implementation of the popular will expressed in the principles enshrined in the National Action Charter; pursuant to the authority entrusted to us by our great people to amend the Constitution; out of our desire to complete the requirements of the democratic system of government for our beloved nation; striving for a better future in which the homeland and the citizen will enjoy greater welfare, progress, development, stability and prosperity through earnest and constructive cooperation between government and citizens which will remove the obstacles to progress; and out of a conviction that the future and working for the future is what all of us seek in the coming stage; and in view of our belief that such an objective requires the exertion of efforts; and in order to complete the march, we have amended the existing Constitution.

This amendment has taken account of all the lofty values and the great human principles enshrined in the National Action Charter. These values and principles confirm that the people of Bahrain surge ahead in their triumphant march towards a bright future, God willing, a future in which the efforts of all parties and individuals unite, and the authorities in their new garb devote themselves to achieve the hopes and aspirations under his tolerant rule, declaring their adherence to Islam as a faith, a code of laws and a way of life, with their affiliation to the great Arab nation, and their association with the Gulf Cooperation Council now and in the future, and their striving for everything that will achieve justice, good and peace for the whole of Mankind.

The amendments to the Constitution proceed from the premise that the noble people of Bahrain believe that Islam brings salvation in this world and the next, and that Islam means neither inertness nor fanaticism but explicitly states that wisdom is the goal of the believer wherever he finds it he should take it, and that the Qur'an has been remiss in nothing.

In order to achieve this goal, it is essential that we listen and look to the whole of the human heritage in both East and West, adopting that which we consider to be beneficial and suitable and consistent with our religion, values and traditions and is appropriate to our circumstances, in the conviction that social and human systems are not inflexible tools and instruments which can be moved unchanged from place to place, but are messages conveyed to the mind, spirit and conscience of Man and are influenced by his reactions and the circumstances of his society.

Thus these constitutional amendments are representative of the advanced cultural thought of our beloved nation. They base our political system on a constitutional monarchy founded on counsel [shura], which in Islam is the highest model for governance, and on the people's participation in the exercise of power, which is the foundation of modern political thought. The Ruler, with his perspicacity, chooses certain experienced people to constitute the Consultative Council (Majlis al-Shura), and the aware, free and loyal people choose through elections those who make up the Chamber of Deputies (Majlis al-Nuwwab), and thus the two chambers together achieve the popular will represented by the National Assembly (Al-Majlis al-Watani).

These constitutional amendments undoubtedly reflect the joint will of the King and the people, and achieve for everyone the lofty ideals and the great humanitarian principles contained in the National Action Charter, and ensure that the people will advance to the high position for which their ability and preparedness qualify them, and which accords with the greatness of their history, and allows them to occupy their appropriate place among the civilised nations of the world.

This constitution that we have promulgated contains the amendments that have been carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Action Charter and that complement all the unamended texts.

We have attached an explanation memorandum which will be used to explain its judgement.

§Chapter I The State[edit] §Article 1 [Sovereignty, Constitutional Monarchy][edit] a. The Kingdom of Bahrain is a fully sovereign, independent Islamic Arab State whose population is part of the Arab nation and whose territory is part of the great Arab homeland. Its sovereignty may not be assigned or any of its territory abandoned.

b. The regime of the Kingdom of Bahrain is that of a hereditary constitutional monarchy, which has been handed down by the late Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa to his eldest son Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King. Thenceforward it will pass to his eldest son, one generation after another, unless the King in his lifetime appoints a son other than his eldest son as successor, in accordance with the provisions of the Decree on inheritance stated in the following clause.

c. All provisions governing inheritance are regulated by a special Royal Decree that will have a constitutional character, and which can only be amended under the provisions of Article 120 of the Constitution.

d. The system of government in the Kingdom of Bahrain is democratic, sovereignty being in the hands of the people, the source of all powers. Sovereignty shall be exercised in the manner stated in this Constitution.

e. Citizens, both men and women, are entitled to participate in public affairs and may enjoy political rights, including the right to vote and to stand for elections, in accordance with this Constitution and the conditions and principles laid down by law. No citizen can be deprived of the right to vote or to nominate oneself for elections except by law.

f. This Constitution may be amended only partly, and in the manner provided herein.

§Article 2 [State Religion, Shari'a, Official Language][edit] The religion of the State is Islam. The Islamic Shari'a is a principal source for legislation. The official language is Arabic.

§Article 3 [Flag][edit] The State flag, emblem, logos, honours and national anthem are laid down by law.

§Chapter II Basic Constituents of Society[edit] §Article 4 [State Principles][edit] Justice is the basis of government. Cooperation and mutual respect provide a firm bond between citizens. Freedom, equality, security, trust, knowledge, social solidarity and equality of opportunity for citizens are pillars of society guaranteed by the State.

§Article 5 [Family][edit] a. The family is the basis of society, deriving its strength from religion, morality and love of the homeland. The law preserves its lawful entity, strengthens its bonds and values, under its aegis extends protection to mothers and children, tends the young and protects them from exploitation and safeguards them against moral, bodily and spiritual neglect. The State cares in particular for the physical, moral and intellectual development of the young.

b. The State guarantees reconciling the duties of women towards the family with their work in society, and their equality with men in political, social, cultural, and economic spheres without breaching the provisions of Islamic canon law (Shari'a).

c. The State guarantees the requisite social security for its citizens in old age, sickness, disability, orphanhood, widowhood or unemployment, and also provides them with social insurance and healthcare services. It strives to safeguard them against ignorance, fear and poverty.

d. Inheritance is a guaranteed right governed by the Islamic Shari'a.

§Article 6 [Arab and Islamic Heritage][edit] The State safeguards the Arab and Islamic heritage. It contributes to the advancement of human civilization and strives to strengthen the bonds between the Islamic countries, and to achieve the aspirations of the Arab nation for unity and progress.

§Article 7 [Education][edit] a. The State sponsors the sciences, humanities and the arts, and encourages scientific research. The State also guarantees educational and cultural services to its citizens. Education is compulsory and free in the early stages as specified and provided by law. The necessary plan to combat illiteracy is laid down by law.

b. The law regulates care for religious and national instruction in the various stages and forms of education, and at all stages is concerned to develop the citizen's personality and his pride in his Arabism.

c. Individuals and bodies may establish private schools and universities under the supervision of the State and in accordance with the law.

d. The State guarantees the inviolability of the places of learning.

§Article 8 [Health Care][edit] a. Every citizen is entitled to health care. The State cares for public health and the State ensures the means of prevention and treatment by establishing a variety of hospitals and healthcare institutions.

b. Individuals and bodies may establish private hospitals, clinics or treatment centres under the supervision of the State and in accordance with the law.

§Article 9 [Property][edit] a. Ownership, capital and work -- in accordance with the principles of Islamic justice -- are basic constituents of the social entity of the State and the national wealth, and are all individual rights with a social function regulated by law.

b. Public funds are inviolate, and it is the duty of every citizen to protect them.

c. Private ownership is protected. No one shall be prevented from disposing of his property within the limits of the law. No one shall be dispossessed of his property except for the public good in the cases specified and the manner stated by law and provided that he is fairly compensated.

d. Public expropriation of funds is prohibited, and private expropriation shall be a penalty only by judicial ruling in the cases prescribed by law.

e. The relationship between the owners of land and real estate and their tenants shall be regulated by law on economic principles while observing social justice.

f. The State shall endeavour to provide housing for citizens with limited income.

g. The State shall make the necessary arrangements to ensure the exploitation of land suitable for productive farming, and shall strive to raise the standards of farmers. The law lays down how small farmers are to be helped and how they can own their land.

h. The State shall take the necessary measures for the protection of the environment and the conservation of wildlife.

§Article 10 [Economy][edit] a. The national economy is based on social justice, and it is strengthened by fair cooperation between public and private business. Its objective, within the limits of the law, is economic development according to a well-ordered plan and achievement of prosperity for the citizens, all within the bounds of the law.

b. The State endeavours to achieve the economic union of the Gulf Cooperation Council states and the states of the Arab League, and everything that leads to rapprochement, cooperation, coordination and mutual assistance among them.

§Article 11 [Natural Resources][edit] All natural wealth and resources are State property. The State shall safeguard them and exploit them properly, while observing the requirements of the security of the State and of the national economy.

§Article 12 [Compensation][edit] The State guarantees the common liability of society in bearing the burdens arising from public disasters and ordeals, and for compensating those affected by war damage or as a result of performing their military duties.

§Article 13 [Work][edit] a. Work is the duty of every citizen, is required by personal dignity and is dictated by the public good. Every citizen has the right to work and to choose the type of work within the bounds of public order and decency.

b. The State guarantees the provision of job opportunities for its citizens and the fairness of work conditions.

c. Compulsory work cannot be imposed on any person except in the cases specified by law for national exigency and for a fair consideration, or pursuant to a judicial ruling.

d. The law regulates the relationship between employees and employers on economic basis while observing social justice.

§Article 14 [Savings, Credit][edit] The State encourages cooperation and saving, and supervises the regulation of credit.

§Article 15 [Taxes][edit] a. Taxes and public costs are based on social justice, and their payment is a duty under the law.

b. The law regulates exemption of low incomes from taxes in order to ensure that a minimum standard of living is safeguarded.

§Article 16 [Public Jobs][edit] a. Public jobs are a national service entrusted to their incumbents, and State employees shall have the public interest in mind when performing their jobs. Foreigners shall not be entrusted with public posts except in those cases specified by law.

b. Citizens are equal in the assumption of public posts in accordance with the conditions specified by law.

§Chapter III Public Rights and Duties[edit] §Article 17 [Citizenship][edit] a. Bahraini nationality shall be determined by law. A person inherently enjoying his Bahraini nationality cannot be stripped of his nationality except in case of treason, and such other cases as prescribed by law.

b. It is prohibited to banish a citizen from Bahrain or prevent him from returning to it.

§Article 18 [Human Dignity, Equality][edit] People are equal in human dignity, and citizens are equal before the law in public rights and duties. There shall be no discrimination among them on the basis of sex, origin, language, religion or creed.

§Article 19 [Personal Freedom][edit] a. Personal freedom is guaranteed under the law.

b. A person cannot be arrested, detained, imprisoned or searched, or his place of residence specified or his freedom of residence or movement restricted, except under the provisions of the law and under judicial supervision.

c. A person cannot be detained or imprisoned in locations other than those designated in the prison regulations covered by health and social care and subject to control by the judicial authority.

d. No person shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, or inducement, or undignified treatment, and the penalty for so doing shall be specified by law. Any statement or confession proved to have been made under torture, inducement, or such treatment, or the threat thereof, shall be null and void.

§Article 20 [Criminal Trials][edit] a. There shall be no crime and no punishment except under a law, and punishment only for acts committed subsequent to the effective date of the law providing for the same.

b. Punishment is personal.

c. An accused person is innocent until proved guilty in a legal trial in which he is assured of the necessary guarantees to exercise the right of defence at all stages of the investigation and trial in accordance with the law.

d. It is forbidden to harm an accused person physically or mentally.

e. Every person accused of an offence must have a lawyer to defend him with his consent.

f. The right to litigate is guaranteed under the law.

§Article 21 [Asylum][edit] The extradition of political refugees is prohibited.

§Article 22 [Conscience, Religion][edit] Freedom of conscience is absolute. The State guarantees the inviolability of worship, and the freedom to perform religious rites and hold religious parades and meetings in accordance with the customs observed in the country.

§Article 23 [Expression][edit] Freedom of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed. Everyone has the right to express his opinion and publish it by word of mouth, in writing or otherwise under the rules and conditions laid down by law, provided that the fundamental beliefs of Islamic doctrine are not infringed, the unity of the people is not prejudiced, and discord or sectarianism is not aroused.

§Article 24 [Press][edit] With due regard for the provisions of the preceding Article, the freedom of the press, printing and publishing is guaranteed under the rules and conditions laid down by law.

§Article 25 [Home][edit] Dwellings are inviolate. They cannot be entered or searched without the permission of their occupants exception in cases of maximum necessity as laid down and in the manner provided by law.

§Article 26 [Communication][edit] The freedom of postal, telegraphic, telephonic and electronic communication is safeguarded and its confidentiality is guaranteed. Communications shall not be censored or their confidentiality breached except in exigencies specified by law and in accordance with procedures and under guarantees prescribed by law.

§Article 27 [Associations, Trade Unions][edit] The freedom to form associations and unions on national principles, for lawful objectives and by peaceful means is guaranteed under the rules and conditions laid down by law, provided that the fundamentals of the religion and public order are not infringed. No one can be forced to join any association or union or to continue as a member.

§Article 28 [Assembly][edit] a. Individuals are entitled to assemble privately without a need for permission or prior notice, and no member of the security forces may attend their private meetings.

b. Public meetings, parades and assemblies are permitted under the rules and conditions laid down by law, but the purposes and means of the meeting must be peaceful and must not be prejudicial to public decency.

§Article 29 [Petition][edit] Any individual may address the public authorities in writing over his signature. Group approaches to the authorities may only be made by statutory bodies and corporate persons.

§Article 30 [Military Service][edit] a. Peace is the objective of the State. The safety of the nation is part of the safety of the Arab homeland as a whole, and its defence is a sacred duty of every citizen. Performance of military service is an honour for citizens and is regulated by law.

b. Only the State may establish the Defence Force, National Guard, and Public Security services. Non-citizens are assigned such tasks only in case of maximum necessity and in the manner prescribed by

c. General or partial mobilisation shall be regulated by law.

§Article 31 [Restrictions][edit] The public rights and freedoms stated in this Constitution may only be regulated or limited by or in accordance with the law, and such regulation or limitation may not prejudice the essence of the right or freedom.

§Chapter IV Public Authorities General Provisions[edit] §[Section 0 General Provision][edit] §Article 32 [Separation of Powers][edit] a. The system of government rests on a separation of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities while maintaining cooperation between them in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. None of the three authorities may assign all or part of its powers stated in this Constitution. However, limited legislative delegation for a particular period and specific subject(s) is permissible, whereupon the powers shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Delegation Law.

b. Legislative authority is vested in the King and the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution. Executive authority is vested in the King together with the Council of Ministers and Ministers, and judicial rulings are issued in his name, the whole being in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

§Section 1 The King[edit] §Article 33 [Head of State, Powers][edit] a. The King is Head of State, and its nominal representative, and his person is inviolate. He is the loyal protector of the religion and the homeland, and the symbol of national unity.

b. The King safeguards the legitimacy of the government and the supremacy of the constitution and the law, and cares for the rights and freedoms of individuals and organisations.

c. The King exercises his powers directly and through his Ministers. Ministers are jointly answerable to him for general government policy, and each Minister is answerable for the business of his Ministry.

d. The King appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister by Royal Order, and appoints and dismisses Ministers by Royal Decree as proposed by the Prime Minister.

e. The Cabinet shall be re-formed as aforesaid in this article at the start of each legislative season of the National Assembly.

f. The King appoints and dismisses members of the Consultative Council by Royal Order.

g. The King is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Force. He commands it and charges it with national tasks within the homeland and outside it. The Defence Force is directly linked to the King, and maintains the necessary secrecy in its affairs.

h. The King chairs the Higher Judicial Council. The King appoints judges by Royal Orders, as proposed by the Higher Judicial Council.

i. The King awards honours and decorations in accordance with the law.

j. The King establishes, grants and withdraws civilian and military ranks and other honourary titles by Royal Order, and can delegate others to carry out these functions on his behalf.

k. The currency is issued in the name of the King in accordance with the law.

1. On ascending the throne, the King takes the following oath at a special meeting of the National Assembly:

"I swear by Almighty God that I shall respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, that I shall defend the freedoms, interests and assets of the people, and that I shall safeguard the independence of the nation and the integrity of its territories."

m. The Royal Court is attached to the King. A Royal Order shall be issued to regulate it. Its budget and the rules for the budget's control are set by a special Royal Decree.

§Article 34 [Deputy Head of State][edit] a. In the event of his absence abroad and the inability of the Crown Prince to act for him, the King shall appoint a Deputy by Royal Order to exercise his powers during his period of absence. This Order may include a special regulation for the exercise of these powers on his behalf or may limit their scope.

b. The conditions and provisions of Clause (b) of Article 48 of this Constitution shall apply to the King's Deputy. If he is a Minister or a member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies, he shall not participate in ministerial or parliamentary business during the period he deputises for the King.

c. Before exercising his powers, the King's Deputy shall take the oath prescribed in the preceding Article, including the phrase : "and I shall be loyal to the King". The oath shall be taken in the National Assembly if in session, and if not it shall be taken before the King. The Crown Prince shall take this oath once, even if he deputises for the King a number of times.

§Article 35 [Legislative Powers][edit] a. The King may amend the Constitution, propose laws, and is the authority for their ratification and promulgation.

b. A law shall be deemed ratified and the King shall promulgate it if six months have elapsed from the date on which it was submitted to him by the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies without it being returned to these Chambers for reconsideration.

c. With due regard for the provisions pertaining to amendment of the Constitution, if within the interval prescribed in the preceding clause the King returns to the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies for reconsideration the draft of any law by way of a Decree in justification, he shall state whether it should be reconsidered in that same session or the next.

d. If the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies, or the National Assembly, re-approve the draft by a majority of two-thirds of their members, the King shall ratify it, and shall promulgate it within one month of its approval for the second time.

§Article 36 [Declaration of War][edit] a. Aggressive war is forbidden. A defensive war is declared by a Decree which shall be presented to the National Assembly immediately upon its declaration, for a decision on the conduct of the war.

b. A state of national safety or martial law shall be proclaimed only by Decree. In all cases, martial law cannot be proclaimed for a period exceeding three months. This period may not be renewed except with the consent of the majority of the members of the National Assembly present.

§Article 37 [Treaties][edit] (1) The King shall conclude treaties by Decree, and shall communicate them to the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies forthwith accompanied by the appropriate statement. A treaty shall have the force of law once it has been concluded and ratified and published in the Official Gazette.

(2) However, peace treaties and treaties of alliance, treaties relating to State territory, natural resources, rights of sovereignty, the public and private rights of citizens, treaties pertaining to commerce, shipping and residence, and treaties which involve the State Exchequer in non-budget expenditure or which entail amendment of the laws of Bahrain, must be promulgated by law to be valid.

(3) Under no circumstances may a treaty include secret clauses which conflict with those openly declared.

§Article 38 [Decrees][edit] (1) If between the convening of both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies sessions, or during the period in which the National Assembly is in recess, any event should occur that requires expediting the adoption of measures that brook no delay, the King may issue relevant Decrees that have the force of law, provided they do not contravene the Constitution.

(2) Such Decrees must be referred to both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies within one month from their promulgation if the two chambers are in session, or within a month of the first meeting of each of the two new chambers in the event of dissolution or if the legislative term had ended. If the Decrees are not so referred, their legal force shall abate retrospectively without a need to issue a relevant ruling. If they are referred to the two chambers but are not confirmed by them their legal force shall also abate retrospectively.

§Article 39 [Administrative Decrees][edit] a. The King shall lay down the regulations for implementation of the laws, by Decrees which shall not include amendment or suspension of those laws or exemption from their implementation. The law may prescribe a lower instrument than a Decree for promulgation of the regulations necessary for their implementation.

b. The King shall lay down the control regulations and the regulations necessary for the organization of public directorates and departments, by Decrees in a manner which does not conflict with the laws.

§Article 40 [Officers][edit] The King shall appoint and dismiss civil servants, military personnel, and political representatives in foreign States and with international organizations, within the bounds and on the conditions prescribed by law, and shall accredit the representatives of foreign States and organizations.

§Article 41 [Pardon, Amnesty][edit] The King may abate or commute a sentence by Decree. A total amnesty may be granted only by law, and shall apply to offences committed before the amnesty was proposed.

§Article 42 [Electoral Orders][edit] a. The King shall issue the Orders for elections to the Chamber of Deputies in accordance with the provisions of the law.

b. The King shall invite the National Assembly to convene by Royal Order, and shall open its proceedings and bring them to a close in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

c. The King is entitled to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies by a Decree that states the reasons for the dissolution. The Chamber cannot be dissolved for the same reasons once again.

§Article 43 [Popular Referendum][edit] The King may conduct a popular referendum on important laws and issues connected with the interests of the State. The issue on which the referendum has been held is considered to have been agreed upon if approved by a majority of those who cast their votes. The result of the referendum shall be binding on all and effective from the date it is declared, and it shall be published in the Official Gazette.

§Section 2 The Executive Authority[edit] §Article 44 [Composition][edit] The Council of Ministers shall consist of the Prime Minister and a number of Ministers.

§Article 45 [Eligibility][edit] a. The incumbent of a Ministry must be a Bahraini, aged not less than 30 years by the Gregorian Calendar and must enjoy full political and civil rights. Unless otherwise provided, the provisions pertaining to Ministers apply also to the Prime Minister.

b. The salaries of the Prime Minister and Ministers shall be laid down by law.

§Article 46 [Oath of Office][edit] Before exercising their powers, the Prime Minister and Ministers shall take the oath prescribed in Article 78 of this Constitution before the King.

§Article 47 [Powers][edit] a. The Council of Ministers shall oversee State interests, lay down and follow through the implementation of general government policy, and supervise the course of business in the Government apparatus.

b. The King shall chair those meetings of the Council of Ministers which he attends.

c. The Prime Minister shall supervise performance of the tasks of the Council of Ministers and the course of its business, implement its decisions and coordinate between the various Ministries and integrate their business.

d. Relinquishment by the Prime Minister of his position for any reason shall entail removal of all Ministers from their posts.

e. The deliberations of the Council of Ministers shall be confidential. Its decisions shall be adopted when a majority of its members attend and there is a majority of those attending in favour. In the event of a tied vote, the side on which the Prime Minister's vote is cast shall prevail. The minority shall abide by the opinion of the majority unless they resign. Council decisions shall be submitted to the King for approval in cases where issue of a relevant Decree is required.

§Article 48 [Departments, Incompatibilities][edit] a. Each minister shall supervise the affairs of his Ministry and implement the general government policy in that Ministry. He shall also decide the orientation of the Ministry and supervise the putting of it into practice.

b. While in charge of his Ministry, a Minister may not assume any other public office, nor may he even indirectly practise a profession or conduct industrial, commercial or financial business, nor may he participate in contracts concluded by the Government or public institutions, or combine his ministerial position with the membership of the board of directors of any company except as a non-remunerated Government representative. Also during this period the Minister may not purchase or rent a State asset even by way of public auction, nor may he lease, sell, or barter any of his assets to the State.

§Article 49 [Succession][edit] If the Prime Minister or the Minister relinquishes his position for any reason, he shall continue to discharge urgent business of his function until a successor is appointed.

§Article 50 [Supervision of Self-Government][edit] a. The law shall regulate public institutions and municipal departmental bodies so as to ensure their independence under State direction and supervision. The law shall ensure the municipal departmental bodies can administer and oversee the services that have a local character and are within their area.

b. The State shall direct public welfare institutions for the public good in a manner consistent with general State policy and the interest of its citizens.

§Section 3 The Legislative Authority National Assembly[edit] §[Part 0 General Provision][edit] §Article 51 [Chambers][edit] The National Assembly consists of two Chambers: the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies.

§Part 1 The Consultative Council[edit] §Article 52 [Composition][edit] The Consultative Council is composed of forty members appointed by Royal Order.

§Article 53 [Eligibility][edit] A member of the Consultative Council must be a Bahraini, enjoy full political and civil rights, be on an electoral list, must not be less than a full thirty five years of age by the Gregorian Calendar on the day of appointment, and must be experienced or have rendered distinguished services to the Nation.

§Article 54 [Term][edit] a. The term of membership of the Consultative Council is four years, and members may be reappointed when their term has expired.

b. If for any reason the place of a member of the Consultative Council becomes vacant before his term is due to expire, the King shall appoint a replacement to serve until the end of the term of his predecessor.

c. Any member of the Consultative Council may ask to be exempted from membership of the Council by applying to the President of the Council, and the President is to submit the request to the King. Membership shall not terminate until the date on which the King accedes to the request.

d. The King shall appoint the President of the Consultative Council for the same period as the Council, and the Council shall elect two Vice-Presidents for each convening period.

§Article 55 [Sessions][edit] a. The Consultative Council shall meet when the Chamber of Deputies meets, and the convening period for both Chambers shall be the same.

b. If the Chamber of Deputies is dissolved, sessions of the Consultative Council shall be halted.

§Part 2 The Chamber of Deputies[edit] §Article 56 [Composition][edit] The Chamber of Deputies comprises forty members elected by direct, secret general ballot in accordance with the provisions of the law.

§Article 57 [Eligibility][edit] A member of the Chamber of Deputies must meet the following requirements:

a. He must be a Bahraini enjoying his full civil and political rights, and his name must be on an electoral list.

b. On the day of his election he must be not less than thirty years of age by the Gregorian Calendar.

c. He must read and write Arabic fluently.

d. His membership of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies must not have been abrogated by decision of the Chamber to which he belonged due to loss of confidence and esteem or for being in breach of duties of membership. However, a person whose membership has been abrogated may put himself forward as a candidate if the legislative season during which the decision to abrogate his membership was taken has elapsed, or if the chamber of which he was a member adopts a decision to cancel the impediment to candidature entailed by abrogation of membership upon expiry of the convening period during which the decision to abrogate his membership was taken.

§Article 58 [Term][edit] (1) The term of the Chamber of Deputies is four years by the Gregorian Calendar from the date of its first session. Elections for a new Chamber of Deputies shall be held during the last four months of that term, while observing the provisions of Article 64 of the Constitution. A person whose period of membership has ended may be re-elected.

(2) The King may, when necessary, extend the legislative season of the Chamber of Deputies by Royal Order for a period not exceeding two years.

§Article 59 [Vacancies][edit] (1) If for any reason the place of a member of the Chamber of Deputies becomes vacant before his term is due to expire, his replacement shall be elected within two months from the date of announcement of the vacancy by the Chamber, and the new member shall serve until the end of term of his predecessor.

(2) If the vacancy occurs within the six months that precede the end of the legislative season of the Chamber, there shall be no election of a replacement member.

§Article 60 [Presidency][edit] (1) At its first session the Chamber of Deputies shall choose from among its members a President and two Vice Presidents for the same duration as the Chamber's term. If the place of any of them falls vacant, the Chamber shall choose a replacement to serve out his term.

(2) In all cases election shall be by an absolute majority of those present. If there is no such majority on the first ballot, the election shall be conducted again between the two who secured the most votes. If a third party tied with the second of the two, he shall participate with them both in the election in the second ballot, and in this case the election shall be by proportional majority. If this proportional majority results in a tie, the Chamber shall choose by lot.

(3) The first session shall be chaired by the eldest member until such time as a President of the Chamber of Deputies is elected.

§Article 61 [Committees][edit] The Chamber shall form the committees necessary for its business during the first week of its annual assembly. These committees may exercise their powers while the chamber is in recess.

§Article 62 [Electoral Jurisdiction][edit] The Court of Cassation shall have jurisdiction to rule on challenges relating to elections to the Chamber of Deputies, in accordance with the relevant law.

§Article 63 [Resignation][edit] The Chamber of Deputies is the authority competent to accept a resignation from its membership. The resignation shall be deemed final only from when the Chamber decides to accept it, and the place shall become vacant from the date ofthat acceptance.

§Article 64 [Dissolution][edit] a. If the Chamber of Deputies is dissolved, elections for a new Chamber of Deputies must be held not later than four months from the date of dissolution. If elections are not held during that period the dissolved Chamber of Deputies shall regain its full constitutional powers, and meets immediately as though the dissolution never occurred, and shall continue its business until a new Chamber is elected.

b. Notwithstanding the preceding clause, the King may defer election of the Chamber of Deputies if there are compelling circumstances whereby the Council of Ministers considers holding elections is not possible.

c. If the compelling circumstances mentioned in the preceding clause continue, the King, taking the opinion of the Council of Ministers, may restore the dissolved Chamber of Deputies and invite it to convene. This Chamber of Deputies shall be regarded as extant from the date of promulgation of the Royal Decree restoring it. It shall exercise its full constitutional powers. The provisions of this Constitution shall apply to it including those pertaining to completion of the Chamber's term and dissolution. The session the Chamber holds in such a case shall be regarded as its first session irrespective of the date of its commencement.

§Article 65 [Interpellation][edit] (1) Upon an application signed by at least five members of the Chamber of Deputies, any Minister may be questioned on matters coming within his sphere of competence.

(2) The question must not pertain to a private interest of the questioner or his relatives to the fourth degree, or be made by his proxy.

(3) The question shall not be debated until at least eight days after the day on which the question was posed, unless the Minister agrees to bring the debate forward.

(4) The question may lead to the matter of confidence in the Minister being put to the Chamber of Deputies under the provisions of Article 66 of this Constitution.

§Article 66 [Responsibility, Vote of No-Confidence][edit] a. Each Minister shall be responsible to the Chamber of Deputies for the business of his Ministry.

b. A question of confidence in a Minister may be put forward only at his own wish or upon an application signed by at least ten members of the Chamber of Deputies following the debate of the question put to him, and the Chamber may not give its decision on the application until seven days after its submission.

c. If the Chamber of Deputies decides by a majority of two-thirds of its members to give a vote of no-confidence in a Minister, he shall be regarded as having withdrawn from the Ministry from the date of the no-confidence vote, and he shall submit his resignation forthwith.

§Article 67 [Limitations][edit] a. The subject of confidence in the Prime Minister shall not be raised in the Chamber of Deputies.

b. If, two-thirds of members of the Chamber of Deputies consider it not possible to cooperate with the Prime Minister, the matter will be referred to the National Assembly to consider it.

c. The National Assembly cannot issue its decision on the lack of possibility of cooperating with the Prime Minister prior to seven days from the date the matter was referred to it.

d. If the National Assembly decides by a majority of two thirds of its members that it is not possible to cooperate with the Prime Minister, the matter is submitted to the King for a decision, either by relieving the Prime Minister of his post and appointing a new Government, or by dissolving the Chamber of Deputies.

§Article 68 [Wishes][edit] The Chamber of Deputies may express its wishes in writing to the Government on public matters. If the Government finds itself unable to meet these wishes, it must give its reasons in writing to the Chamber.

§Article 69 [Commissions of Inquiry][edit] (1) The Chamber of Deputies may at any time form commissions of inquiry or delegate one or more of its members to investigate any matter coming within the powers of the Chamber stated in the Constitution, and the commission or member is to present the findings of the inquiry not later than four months from the date of commencement of the inquiry.

(2) Ministers and all State employees are to provide such testimony, documents and statements as are asked of them.

§Part 3 Provisions Common to Both Chambers[edit] §Article 70 [Legislation][edit] No law shall be promulgated unless approved by both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies, or the National Assembly as the situation demands, and ratified by the King.

§Article 71 [Sessions][edit] The National Assembly shall convene on the second Saturday in the month of October unless the King decides to invite it to convene before this date. If that day is an official holiday, it shall convene on the first working day following that holiday.

§Article 72 [Length of Sessions][edit] The normal convening period for both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies shall last for at least seven months, and this convening period may not be closed before the budget is approved.

§Article 73 [Convening Period][edit] (1) As an exception to the provisions of the two foregoing Articles, the National Assembly shall convene on the day following the expiry of one month from the date of appointment of the Consultative Council or election of the Chamber of Deputies whichever occurs later, unless the King decides to invite it to convene before that date.

(2) If the date of convening the National Assembly in that period is later than the annual date prescribed in Article 71 of the Constitution, the convening period prescribed in Article 72 of the Constitution shall be reduced by the amount of the difference between the two aforesaid dates.

§Article 74 [King's Address and Reply][edit] The King shall inaugurate the ordinary convening period of the National Assembly with a royal address. He may delegate the Crown Prince or whomever he decides to inaugurate the convening period and deliver the royal address on his behalf. Each of the two chambers shall choose a committee from among its members to prepare the draft reply to the address, and each chamber shall submit its reply to the King after it is approved.

§Article 75 [Extraordinary Sessions][edit] (1) Both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies shall be called, by Royal Decree, to meet in extraordinary session if the King deems it necessary, or if so requested by a majority of members of either chamber.

(2) When in extraordinary session the two chambers may not consider matters other than those for which it has been called to convene.

§Article 76 [Closing of Sessions][edit] The King shall declare ordinary and extraordinary convening periods closed by Royal Order.

§Article 77 [Place and Time][edit] Any meeting of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies which is not held at the prescribed time and place shall be null and void and decisions taken thereat shall be invalid.

§Article 78 [Oath of Office][edit] Every member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies shall take the following oath in public session, prior to pursuing their work in the Chamber or its committees:

"I swear by Almighty God that I shall be loyal to the country and the King, shall respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, shall defend the freedoms, interests and assets of the people, and shall perform my work honestly and sincerely."

§Article 79 [Publicity][edit] Sessions of the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies shall be open to the public. They may be held in secret at the request of the Government, the President of the Chamber, or ten members, and the request shall be debated in secret session.

§Article 80 [Quorum][edit] (1) For a meeting of both the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies to be valid, a quorum of more than half the members of each chamber must be present. Decisions shall be taken on an absolute majority of members present, except in cases where a special majority is stipulated. In the event of a tied vote, the matter shall be decided in favour of the side that includes the President of the chamber. If the voting relates to the Constitution, voting shall be conducted by calling upon members by name.

(2) If there is a lack of quorum for either chamber to convene on two successive occasions, the meeting of the chamber shall be deemed valid provided that the number of members attending is not less than one quarter of the chamber's members.

§Article 81 [Initiative][edit] The Prime Minister shall present bills to the Chamber of Deputies, which is entitled to pass, amend or reject the bill. In all cases the bill shall be referred to the Consultative Council, which is entitled to pass, amend or reject the bill or to accept any amendments which the Chamber of Deputies had introduced to the bill, or had rejected or amended them. However, priority of debate shall always be given to bills and proposals put forward by the Government.

§Article 82 [Reconsideration][edit] If the Consultative Council does not approve a bill passed by the Chamber of Deputies, whether the Consultative Council's decision involves rejection, amendment, deletion or addition, the President of the Council shall return it to the Chamber of Deputies for reconsideration.

§Article 83 [Submission][edit] If the Chamber of Deputies accepts the bill as it receives it from the Consultative Council, the President of the Consultative Council shall refer it to the Prime Minister who will submit it to the King.

§Article 84 [Amendments][edit] The Chamber of Deputies may reject any amendment made to a bill by the Consultative Council, and may insist on its previous decision without introducing any new amendments to the bill. In such a case the bill shall be returned to the Consultative Council for reconsideration. The Consultative Council may accept the decision of the Chamber of Deputies or insist on its previous decision.

§Article 85 [Disputes, Joint Session][edit] If the two Chambers differ twice over any bill, the National Assembly shall convene in joint session under the chairmanship of the President of the Consultative Council to discuss those clauses in dispute. For the bill to be accepted, the decision of the National Assembly must be taken on a majority of members present, and when the bill is rejected in this manner it shall not be presented to the National Assembly again in the same convening period.

§Article 86 [Approved Bill][edit] In all cases in which a bill is approved, the President of the Consultative Council shall refer the approved bill to the Prime Minister so that he submits it to the King.

§Article 87 [Budget][edit] Every bill that regulates economic or financial matters, and the Government requests its urgent consideration, shall first be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies so that it takes a decision on it within fifteen days. When that period elapses, the bill is presented to the Consultative Council with the opinion of the Chamber of Deputies if there is such an opinion, so that the Consultative Council decides on it within a further period of fifteen days. If the two Chambers should disagree on the bill in question, the matter is referred to the National Assembly for a vote on it within fifteen days. If the National Assembly does not reach a decision on it within that period, the King may issue the bill as a Decree that has the force of a law.

§Article 88 [Governmental Program][edit] As soon as it is formed, each Government shall submit its program to the National Assembly which may put forward any observations it deems appropriate regarding the program.

§Article 89 [Representation, Immunity][edit] (1) a. A member of either the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies represents the people and cares for public interest. He shall not come under the sway of any authority in his work in the either chamber or its committees.

b. No member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies shall be called to account for expressing his opinions or ideas in the Council or its committees unless the opinion expressed is prejudicial to the fundamentals of the religion or the unity of the nation, or the mandatory respect for the King, or is defamatory of the personal life of any person.

c. Other than in a case of flagrante delicto, it shall be impermissible during the convening period for any detention, investigation, search, arrest or custodial procedures or any other penal action to be taken against a member except with the permission of the chamber of which he is a member. Outside the convening period, permission must be sought from the President of the relevant chamber.

(2) The non-issue of a decision by the chamber or its President on the permission which is being sought within one month from the date of receipt of the request shall be regarded as permission.

(3) The chamber must be informed of any measures which may be taken under the preceding paragraph while it is convened, and it must invariably be informed at its first session of any action taken against a member during the chamber's annual recess.

§Article 90 [Postponement][edit] The King may by Royal Order postpone the convening of the National Assembly for not more than two months, and such postponement shall not be repeated more than once in any one convening period. The period of postponement shall not be counted within the convening period provided by Article 72 of this Constitution.

§Article 91 [Questions][edit] (1) Any member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies may direct written questions at Ministers to clarify matters coming within their sphere of competence, and only the questioner may comment once on the reply. If the Minister adds anything new, the member shall be further entitled to comment.

(2) The question may not relate to an interest of the questioner or his relatives to the fourth degree, or be made by proxy.

§Article 92 [Initiatives][edit] a. Fifteen members of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies are entitled to request proposing an amendment to the Constitution. Any member of the two chambers is entitled to propose laws. Each proposal shall be referred to the relevant committee in the chamber in which the proposal was made for an opinion. If the chamber sees fit to accept the proposal, it shall refer it to the Government to formulate it as a draft amendment of the Constitution or as a draft law and present it to the Chamber of Deputies during the same or succeeding period.

b. Any proposal for a law which has been presented in accordance with the preceding paragraph and rejected by the chamber to which it was presented may not be re-represented during the same convening period.

§Article 93 [Ministerial Right to Speak, Duty to Attend][edit] (1) The Prime Minister and Ministers may attend sessions of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies, and both chambers shall listen to the Prime Minister and Ministers whenever they ask to speak. They may co-opt such senior officials or their deputies as they may wish.

(2) A chamber may require the competent Minister to attend when a matter relating to his Ministry is being debated.

§Article 94 [Regulations][edit] a. The regulations for the course of business in both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies and their committees, and the principles governing debate, voting, questioning, cross-examination and all the powers prescribed in the Constitution shall be prescribed by law, and similarly the penalties for a member being in breach of the regulations or failing to attend chamber or committee sessions without acceptable excuse.

b. Each chamber may add to the law that regulates it such supplementary provisions as it sees fit.

§Article 95 [Order][edit] (1) Maintenance of order within the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies is a matter for its President. Guards shall be allocated to each chamber and they will receive their orders from the chamber's President.

(2) No armed force may enter either chamber of the National Assembly or remain in the vicinity of its doors unless so requested by its President.

§Article 96 [Remuneration][edit] The remuneration of members of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies shall be laid down by law. If this remuneration is amended, such amendment shall not take effect until the start of the next legislative season.

§Article 97 [Incompatibilities][edit] Membership of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies may not be combined, nor may membership of either chamber be combined with the assumption of public office.

Other cases of non-combination shall be prescribed by law.

§Article 98 [Economic Incompatibilities][edit] (1) During his period of membership a member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies may not be appointed to the board of directors of a company or participate in contracts concluded by the Government or public institutions except in those cases prescribed by law.

(2) Nor during that period may he purchase or rent a State asset, or lease, sell or barter any of his assets to the State, unless by way of public auction or invitation to tender or application of the regulations governing expropriation in the public interest.

§Article 99 [Incompetence][edit] If a state of incompetence arises with respect to a member of Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies during his membership, his membership shall be abrogated, and his place become vacant on a decision taken by two-thirds of the members of the chamber of which he is a member. The membership of a member of the Consultative Council or Chamber of Deputies may also be abrogated for loss of confidence or esteem or for being in breach of the duties of membership. A decision to abrogate membership must secure a two-thirds majority of the members of the chamber of which he is a member. If taken by the Consultative Council, the decision shall be submitted to the King for approval.

§Article 100 [Decorations][edit] Members of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies shall not be awarded medals or decorations during their term of membership.

§Part 4 Provisions on the Convening of the National Assembly[edit] §Article 101 [Sessions][edit] In addition to the occasions when both chambers of Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies, that is the National Assembly, convene as a congress under the Constitution, the King may call such a meeting of his own initiative or at the request of the Prime Minister.

§Article 102 [Chairmanship][edit] The joint National Assembly meeting shall be chaired respectively by the President of the Consultative Council, or in his absence by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, followed by the First Vice-President of the Consultative Council, followed by the First Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies.

§Article 103 [Quorum][edit] In the cases other than those in which the Constitution requires a special majority, joint sessions of the two chambers of the National Assembly shall not be deemed legally valid unless they are attended by the majority of the members of each individual chamber. Decisions shall be taken by a majority of the votes of members present with the exception of the President, who is to cast the decisive vote in the event of a tie.

§Section 4 The Judicial Authority[edit] §Article 104 [Independence, Public Prosecutor][edit] a. The honour of the judiciary, and the probity and impartiality of judges, is the basis of government and the guarantee of rights and freedoms.

b. No authority shall prevail over the judgment of a judge, and under no circumstances may the course of justice be interfered with. The law guarantees the independence of the judiciary, and the law shall lay down the guarantees of judges and the provisions pertaining to them.

c. The law shall lay down the provisions pertaining to the Public Prosecution Office, the tasks of the office for delivery of formal legal opinions, the preparation of legislation, State representation before the law, and personnel employed on such matters.

d. The provisions governing advocacy shall be regulated by law.

§Article 105 [Courts][edit] a. The various types and degrees of the courts shall be regulated by law, and the law shall state their functions and jurisdiction.

b. The jurisdiction of military courts shall be confined to military offences committed by members of the Defence Force, the National Guard, and the Security Forces. It does not extend to other persons except when martial law is declared and within the bounds prescribed by law.

c. Court hearings shall be held in public except in exceptional cases prescribed by law.

d. A Higher Judicial Council shall be established by law to supervise the smooth running of work in the courts and their supporting organs. The powers of the Higher Judicial Council in the functional affairs of judicial personnel and the Public Prosecution Office shall be prescribed by law.

§Article 106 [Constitutional Court][edit] (1) A Constitutional Court shall be established, and shall comprise a President and six members, all of whom are appointed by a Royal Order for a period specified by the law. The court's area of competence is to watch over the constitutionality of laws and statutes.

(2) The law shall state the regulations that ensure that the members of the Court are not liable to dismissal, and specifies the procedures that are followed before the Court. The law shall guarantee the right of the Government, Consultative Council, the Chamber of Deputies and notable individuals and others to challenge before the Court the constitutionality of laws and statutes. A ruling by the Court that a text in a law or a statute is unconstitutional shall have a direct effect, unless the Court specifies a subsequent date for the purpose. Thus if the Court's rule on unconstitutionality is related to a text in the penal code then the convictions made on the basis of such a text are deemed null and void.

(3) The King may refer to the Court any draft laws before they are adopted to determine the extent of their agreement with the Constitution. The Court's determination is binding on all State authorities and on everyone.

§Chapter V Financial Affairs[edit] §Article 107 [Taxes][edit] a. Public taxes shall only be established, amended and abolished by law, and persons shall only be exempted from paying them wholly or in part in those cases prescribed by law. A person may only be instructed to pay other taxes, duties and costs within the bounds of the law.

b. The provisions governing the collection of taxes, duties and other public monies, and the procedures for their disbursement, shall be prescribed by law.

c. The provisions governing the maintenance and management and the terms for the disposition of State property, and the limits within which any part of such property may be assigned, shall be prescribed by law.

§Article 108 [Public Loans][edit] a. Public loans shall be contracted by law. The State may lend or guarantee a loan by law within the credit limits prescribed for the purpose in the Budget Law.

b. Local bodies such as municipalities or public institutions may lend, borrow or guarantee a loan in accordance with the laws relevant to them.

§Article 109 [Budget][edit] a. The financial year shall be prescribed by law.

b. The Government shall prepare the draft overall annual budget of State revenue and expenditure and present it to the Chamber of Deputies at least two months before the end of the financial year, for debate and referral to the Consultative Council to consider it in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Any amendment can be introduced into the budget with the agreement of the Government.

c. The budget shall be debated on the basis of the classification of its contents. The budget may be prepared for more than one financial year. No public revenue may be allocated for a particular expenditure except by law.

d. The State general budget shall be promulgated by law.

e. If the Budget Law is not promulgated before the beginning of the financial year, the previous budget shall be adhered to until the law's promulgation, and revenue shall be collected and expenditure disbursed in accordance with the laws in force at the end ofthat year.

f. Under no circumstances may the maximum estimates of expenditure stated in the Budget Law and laws in amendment thereof be exceeded.

§Article 110 [Ex-Budgetary Disbursement][edit] Any disbursement which is ex-budget or in excess of the budget estimates must be made by operation of law.

§Article 111 [Funds][edit] a. Particular sums of money may be allocated to more than one financial year by law if the nature of the disbursement so requires. The approbations for each, as decided by the aforesaid law, shall be tabled in the successive annual budgets of the State.

b. An exceptional budget running for more than one financial year may also be allocated for the disbursement referred to in the preceding clause.

§Article 112 [Budget Law][edit] The Budget Law may not contain any wording establishing a new tax, increasing an existing tax, or amending an existing law, or avoiding the promulgation of a law on a matter for which the Constitution provides that it shall be regulated by law.

§Article 113 [Final Account][edit] The final account of the financial affairs of the State for the year elapsed shall be submitted firstly to the Chamber of Deputies during the five months following the end of the financial year. It shall be approved by a decision rendered by both the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies, accompanied by their observations, and shall be published in the Official Gazette.

§Article 114 [Accounting Procedures][edit] The provisions pertaining to independent public budgets, their appendices, and their final accounts, shall be laid down by law, and they shall be subject to the provisions governing the State budget and its final account. The provisions governing the budgets and final accounts of municipalities and local public institutions shall also be laid down by law.

§Article 115 [Budget Bill][edit] Together with the draft annual budget the Government shall present the Chamber of Deputies with a statement on the financial and economic condition of the State, the measures taken to implement the budget approbations in force, and the effect of the whole thereof on the new draft budget.

§Article 116 [Financial Control Office][edit] A Financial Control Office shall be established by law, and the law shall guarantee its independence. It shall assist the Government and the Chamber of Deputies in controlling the collection of State revenues and the disbursement of its expenditure within the budget limits. The Office shall submit an annual report on its business, with its observations, to both the Government and the Chamber of Deputies.

§Article 117 [Concessions, Monopolies][edit] a. Any commitment to exploit a natural resource or a public utility shall be only by operation of law and for a limited time. The preliminary procedures shall ensure that the search and exploration work are facilitated and that openness and competition are realized.

b. Any monopoly shall only be awarded by law and for a limited time.

§Article 118 [Currency, Banking, Standards][edit] The law shall regulate cash and the banks, and shall regulate weight, measures and standards.

§Article 119 [Public Salaries][edit] The law shall regulate emoluments, pensions, compensation, relief and remuneration being a charge on the State Treasury.

§Chapter VI General and Final Provisions[edit] §Article 120 [Constitutional Amendments][edit] a. Exceptionally to clauses b, c and d of Article 35 of this Constitution, for any provision of this Constitution to be amended the amendment must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of whom both the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies are composed, and the amendment must be approved by the King.

b. If an amendment to the Constitution is refused, it may not be re-submitted earlier than one year from that refusal.

c. It is not permissible to propose an amendment to Article 2 of this Constitution, and it is not permissible under any circumstances to propose the amendment of the constitutional monarchy and the principle of inherited rule in Bahrain, as well as the bi-cameral system and the principles of freedom and equality established in this Constitution.

d. The powers of the King stated in this Constitution may not be proposed for amendment in an interval during which another person is acting for him.

§Article 121 [Former Treaties and Laws][edit] a. The application of this Constitution does not breach the treaties and agreements which Bahrain has concluded with states and international organisations.

b. Exceptionally to the provision of the second clause of Article 38 of this Constitution, all laws, laws by Decree, Decrees, statutes, orders, edicts and circulars that have been issued and are in force prior to the first meeting convened by the National Assembly remain proper and valid, unless amended or rescinded in accordance with the regulations prescribed in this Constitution.

§Article 122 [Promulgation of Laws][edit] Laws are published in the Official Gazette within two weeks of their issue, and are enforced one month after the date of their publication, and this period may be shortened or prolonged if the law specifically prescribed it.

§Article 123 [Martial Law][edit] It is impermissible to suspend any provision of this Constitution except during the proclamation of martial law, and within the limits prescribed by the law. It is not permissible under any circumstances to suspend the convening of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies during that period or to infringe upon the immunity of their members, or during the proclamation of a state of national safety.

§Article 124 [Coming Into Force][edit] The provisions of the laws apply only to what occurs from the date the laws came into force, and have no retroactive effect. The law may state, in articles other than those pertaining to the penal code, that its provisions have a retroactive effect, with the agreement of the majority of the members of both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies, or if circumstances require it, the National Assembly.

§Article 125 [Promulgation of this Constitution][edit] This amended Constitution shall be published in the Official Gazette, and shall be effective from the date of its publication.

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