February 14 marks the day 98.4% of Bahrainis voted for a referendum to the constitution in 2001 giving more freedom to citizens in a major step towards democratizing the country. It also marks the anniversary of the unrest in 2011, hence making it a day that many view as a turning point in the history of Bahrain, both in 2001 and 2011.
Today, Bahrain is moving forward despite the challenges it is facing as a result of political and economic instabilities. Major steps have been taken towards the implementation of reforms in different sectors. Many fail to see the progress made by Bahrain in addressing people’s concerns due to the failure of political dialogue and what many others describe as a crackdown on protests and political movements. However, the country is for the most part remarkably peaceful and stable; and moving in the right direction.
During the past year, the country faced many challenges on the political scene. The closing down of Al-Wefaq Islamic Society following accusations of sectarian incitement, has transformed the political atmosphere. Al-Wefaq’s failure to engage in dialogue and to participate in the 2014 parliamentary elections, led to it becoming an irrelevant institution that has repeatedly lost opportunities to be a major player in Bahraini politics.
Al Wefaq lost its support base with many of its constituents blaming it for its rejectionist behaviour and others being radicalized by extremist groups. The liberal wing of the opposition which does not enjoy strong support represented by the National Democratic Action Society is today taking the lead in in the opposition coalition due the dissolution of Al-Wefaq. The current situation has led the opposition into a complete failure of engagement with the public and the government, while increasing sectarian divisions....