Bahrain’s parliament accepted the resignation of 11 members of the largest Shiite opposition party, al-Wefaq, which has refused dialogue with the government after more than a month of unrest.
Abduljalil Khalil, the leader of Al-Wefaq, was among the lawmakers to resign, the official Bahrain News Agency reported today. A vote on whether to accept the resignation of another seven members of parliament was delayed, the official Bahrain News Agency said today.
About a dozen people have been killed in more than a month of protests led by Shiites calling for increased civil rights and democracy in the Sunni-led country. The government declared a three-month state of emergency on March 15 after troops from Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states arrived to support the administration.
Al-Wefaq last month rejected an offer of talks with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa aimed at resolving the conflict. Khalil said his party would only enter into dialogue when tanks were withdrawn from the streets. Khalil has also said that “no one will accept outside involvement” in Bahrain.
Shiites make up about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population and many retain cultural and family ties with Iran as well as with Shiites in Saudi Arabia, a minority of about 10 to 15 percent.