WASHINGTON, April 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bahrain's Minister of Finance, Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohamed Al-Khalifa, said this week that Bahrain is on the mend as it continues to make economic strides in the wake of recent protests.
In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Al-Khalifa noted that in the last decade Bahrain has pursued a reformist agenda, including a referendum on the constitution, the establishment of a bicameral parliament, and the separation of executive, judicial, and legislative powers. Al-Khalifa cited 67.7% voter turnout in the last election as an indication of popular participation in and enthusiasm for Bahraini politics. Al-Khalifa also mentioned that the bicameral parliament allows representation and participation of minorities, women, and professional groups, thus creating a necessary balance.
In reference to recent unrest and protests in Bahrain, Al-Khalifa recalled that on February 19 the crown prince ordered the immediate withdrawal of the military from Manama's Pearl Roundabout – which has been at the center of recent anti-government protests – and called for peaceful dialogue with the opposition. The minister stated that accurate media coverage would show that a majority of Bahrainis actually demonstrated in support of the government.
Turning to economic improvements, Al-Khalifa noted that Bahrain invests heavily into its society. He stressed that the Economic Development Board, which oversees the budgetary cycle, has put forth the Vision 2030 plan, a blueprint for Bahrain's long-term economic development. He highlighted that Bahrain's unemployment rate is only 3.6 percent and that 80 percent of the Bahraini budget comes from oil revenues, allowing the government to provide universal healthcare and education.
SOURCE Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain