MANAMA, February 17, 2011 (AFP) – Bahrain’s opposition demands the resignation of Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa’s government following a deadly raid on anti-regime protesters, a Shiite opposition bloc said on Thursday. “The opposition groups, including Al-Wefaq, have issued a statement demanding the government resign and calling for the formation of a new government to investigate this crime,” said Al-Wefaq bloc’s leader, Ali Salman. A police raid early on Thursday left four people dead and scores wounded in the capital of the Shiite-majority Gulf state ruled by a Sunni dynasty. The opposition is calling for “a constitutional amendment that would see a peaceful transition of power and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy,” said Salman.
Sheikh Khalifa, an uncle of King Hamad, has served as prime minister ever since Bahraini independence in 1971. “We have decided to completely pull out from parliament,” said the head of Bahrain’s largest opposition bloc which holds 18 seats in the country’s 40-member elected house. Al-Wefaq, or the Islamic National Accord Association, has said it would not end its boycott until demands are met to transform Bahrain “into a constitutional monarchy where the people would be the main source of power.” “The government should be elected by the people who would have the right to hold it accountable,” Salman said on Wednesday. A 2001 referendum transformed Bahrain from an emirate into a constitutional monarchy and led to elections in 2002 for the first time since parliament was scrapped in 1975. The prime minister is named by the king, while the opposition wants the premier to be elected.
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