Country Governance

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Basic Information

Country Flag:
Country Map: United Nations Maps: Bahrain
Country Name: Kingdom of Bahrain (Mamlakat al Bahrayn)
Name of Capital City: Manama (Al Manamah)
Date of Independence: Bahrain gained independence from Britain on August 15, 1971.

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 5 governorates (muhafazat): The Capital, Muharraq, Northern, Central, Southern.
Country Area (sq km): 707
Population (million): 0.8 (2007)
Population, annual growth rate (%) 1975-2005: 3.3
Population, estimated growth rate (%) 2005-2015: 1.7

Political System

Type of State: Constitutional monarchy / unitary
Date of Constitution: The constitution went into effect on December 6, 1973 and was suspended in 1975.
Following a nationwide referendum on February 14 and 15, 2001 a National Charter was approved.
The king promulgated the Constitution on February 14, 2002 with amendments “carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Action Charter.”

Head of State

Type: The head of state is the king.
Name of Current: Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa succeeded his late father as Emir on March 6, 1999, and became king on February 14, 2002.

Executive Branch

About: The king appoints the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
Name of Current: The head of government is Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, since 1971.

Legislative Branch

Type: Bicameral legislature
- House of Representatives [Arabic]
- Consultative Council [English][Arabic]


Suffrage: The constitution provides universal suffrage to all Bahrainis at least 21 years of age.
- See Also: Bahrain - Election Calendar and Results

Human Development Indicators

Human development index (HDI): 0.801 (2010)
HDI rank (worldwide): 39 (2010)
Adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and older): 88.8 (2007)
Female secondary gross enrollment (%): 103.8 (2005)
Gross enrollment, tertiary level education (%): 32 (2006)
Life expectancy at birth (years): 14.279 (2010)
Poverty index (HP1-1) value (%): 8 (2007)
GDP per capita (PPP US$): 26663.872 (2010)
GDP per capita (PPP US$) rank minus HDI rank: -8 (2010)
* See more human development indicators on Arab Statistics (external link)

Judiciary Branch

Legal system and codification: Mixed system based on British Common Law models and Sunni and Shi'a Shari’a traditions.
Administration: The Higher Judicial Council was established in September 2000 to oversee the judiciary. According to the 2002 constitution, the King chairs the Council. Members include the presiding judge of the Court of Cassation as well as judges from the Shari’a and Civil High Courts of Appeal.
Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of Appeal or Court of Cassation (Mahkamat-al Tamyiz) was established in 1989, and serves as the final court of appeal for all civil, commercial, and criminal matters. The personal status cases of non-Muslims may also be appealed to this body.
Constitutional Court: The Constitutional Court was also created by the 2002 Constitution with competence over the constitutionality of laws. It consists of a president and six members, all appointed by the King at the recommendation of the Higher Judicial Council.
Shari'a or Personal Status: The Shari’a Law Courts have jurisdiction over all issues related to the personal status of Muslims, both Bahraini and non-Bahraini.

Membership in International Organizations

United Nations (UN): September 21, 1971
International Monetary Fund (IMF): September 7, 1972
World Trade Organization (WTO): January 1, 1995
Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC): Signed December 11, 2000, but not ratified.
World Bank – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): September 15, 1972
World Bank – International Finance Corporation (IFC): September 22, 1995
World Bank – Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): April 12, 1988
World Bank – International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): March 15, 1996

Ratification of International Conventions

- Human Rights Conventions
- International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions
- UN Conventions against Corruption and Transnational Organized Crime
- Environment Treaties