Risk management report: Bahrain

The Al-Khalifa family came to power in 1783, driving the Persian empire from the archipelago. The British empire, interested in maritime trade routes, entered into an alliance with the Al-Khalifa in 1820; only in 1971 did Bahrain declare independence. A new constitution provided for a fully elected parliament, which was formed in 1973 but disbanded in 1975 after it fell out with the ruler; after a period of repressive rule, a partially elected body was reinstated in the 2002 constitution. However, in a polity where the Sunni royal family rules over a majority Shiite population, power lies primarily with the executive; the preponderance of Al-Khalifa in key positions blurs lines between the state and ruling family. King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa succeeded his father in 1999 and declared himself king of a constitutional monarchy in 2002.

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