Bahrain’s Prince Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the world’s longest-serving prime minister who had held the put up since independence in 1971, died Wednesday on the age of 84, state media introduced.
Prince Khalifa was a controversial determine throughout his very long time in workplace — and deeply unpopular with the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s Shiite inhabitants.
When Shiite-led protesters occupied Manama’s Pearl Sq. for a month in 2011, earlier than being pushed out by Saudi-backed safety forces, their predominant demand was for Khalifa to step down.
He performed a key function in Bahrain’s political and financial affairs for greater than three a long time after setting the stage for a referendum that put paid to the Shah of Iran’s claims to the tiny Gulf archipelago.
However the prime minister, who was accused by dissidents of opposing political reforms and cracking down on activists, took a decrease profile after his nephew King Hamad ascended the throne in March 1999.
Prince Khalifa handed away on the Mayo Clinic Hospital in the USA, the official Bahrain Information Company mentioned.
The burial ceremony will happen after his stays are transported dwelling, and consistent with coronavirus restrictions the ceremony shall be restricted to a “particular quantity” of family members, it mentioned.
The nation will maintain per week of official mourning, throughout which flags shall be flown at half-mast. Authorities ministries and departments shall be closed for 3 days.
Born on November 24, 1935, Khalifa started to attend his father’s royal courtroom on the age of seven alongside along with his elder brother, Prince Issa.
He was named in 1970 as the pinnacle of the state council, the chief department of presidency which turned the council of ministers after independence from Britain.
He performed tough negotiations with the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, earlier than independence over Shiite Iran’s claims to the islands.
A referendum to find out Bahrain’s future resulted in an awesome vote in favour of independence underneath the rule of the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, regardless of the sizeable Shiite inhabitants — whose dimension is disputed by the federal government to today.
After independence, Sheikh Khalifa’s authorities confronted robust protests by leftist political teams, which demanded the legalisation of commerce unions, leading to large-scale arrests.
In 1972, elections had been held for a constituent meeting which drafted Bahrain’s first structure the next 12 months.
The primary parliamentary elections had been held in December 1973, however Sheikh Khalifa’s authorities dissolved the chamber in August 1975 after it refused to cross a state safety regulation giving the federal government huge powers of arrest and detention with out trial.
Political unrest flared once more within the early Eighties, and in late 1981 the federal government introduced it had foiled an Iranian-backed coup try.
Prince Khalifa strove for a few years to determine Bahrain as a regional monetary hub. Not like different Gulf states, the dominion has solely modest oil assets.
Working carefully along with his brother, the late emir Sheikh Issa bin Salman al-Khalifa, he favoured robust ties with Washington.
Ties have since continued to develop, with Bahrain now internet hosting the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet as certainly one of Washington’s most trusted allies within the area.
Historical past of unrest
Following Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Bahrain witnessed renewed pro-democracy protests coupled with strain from the USA and Britain.
Shiite-led demonstrations intensified in 1994, with protesters demanding the restoration of the elected parliament, the return of political exiles and a extra equitable distribution of wealth.
The unrest, which claimed at the least 38 lives, lasted till 1999, when King Hamad ascended the throne, initially as emir, and initiated reforms which turned Bahrain right into a constitutional monarchy and reinstated the elected parliament in 2002.
However protesters had been again on the road in February 2011, taking their cue from Arab Spring uprisings, demanding a “actual” constitutional monarchy, with an elected premier to switch Khalifa.
Though the federal government quelled the protests after one month, the nation continues to face political repression, with a number of opposition chiefs behind bars. Not less than 89 folks had been killed within the unrest.
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