The Bahraini opposition voiced frustration at the “National Consensus Dialog” with the government after the country’s largest opposition party, al-Wefaq, left the negotiations, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Critics say al-Wefaq’s departure has almost drained the talks of their intended weight.
Facing countrywide anti-regime revolution, Manama launched the talks on July 2 with the alleged aim of introducing reforms in governing system of the Persian Gulf sheikdom.
Bahrain’s largest party and opposition group al-Wefaq quit the negotiations, complaining that since their onset, the government had been trying to muffle the voice of the opposition.
Al-Wefaq regretted that the opposition has been given too small a fraction of the seats — 35 out of 300 — at the talks.
The reform package forwarded by the Manama government has also been attacked for failing to curb the powers of the upper house — in which ministers are directly appointed by the country’s king. It is also blamed for stopping short of giving greater legislative and monitoring powers to the opposition.
Bahrain’s National Dialog Committee said the parties at the talks “did not agree on whether the Shura Council (the upper house) should be granted the same powers as the parliament, and whether the responsibility for lawmaking and oversight should be restricted to the elected chamber.”
It also said that “delegates did not reach consensus on a number of further suggestions, such as limiting the term for ministers and head of government or a fixed quota for women in parliament.”
Tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters have been holding peaceful anti-government rallies throughout the country since February, demanding an end to rule of the al-Khalifa family.
Scores of people have been killed and many more arrested and tortured in prisons in a government-sanctioned crackdowns on the peaceful protesters since the beginning of the demonstrations.
The Bahraini government is, meanwhile, being constantly backed by the United States despite its record of human rights abuse and the numerous complaints lodged against it at The Hague.