Bahrain | Government, Opposition Try to Bridge Divide
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- Government, Opposition Try to Bridge Divide
Government, Opposition Try to Bridge Divide
In an attempt to quell the unrest, opposition groups and pro-government groups opened a national dialogue in February 2013. The parties failed to even agree on an agenda, and the talks were suspended. They resumed briefly in September but ended when Shiite groups withdrew in protest over the arrest of a leader of Al Wefaq, the largest opposition group. The talks opened—and closed—again in January 2014 despite efforts by Crown Prince Salman to resume a dialogue.
King Hamad gave the opposition hope that he may be willing to concede to some of their demands in March 2013, when he appointed Crown Prince Salman al-Khalifa as deputy prime minister. The Crown Prince is considerate a moderate, especially compared to Prime Minister Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, a hardliner not open to negotiating with the opposition.
Parliamentary elections were held in November 2014. The Shiite opposition boycotted the election, claiming that monarchy failed to implement reforms and that the voting districts under-represented the majority Shiites and benefitted Sunnis. The ruling family is Sunni.