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Chaos as oldest member challenges chairman

CHAOS erupted at the start of yesterday's session as parliament's oldest member challenged its chairman Dr Khalifa Al Dhahrani.

MP Isa Al Qadi insisted on reading out a letter consisting of demands from Bahrain's elderly community, despite being told to remain silent several times.

He then got into a heated argument with Dr Al Dhahrani and threatened to walk out, accusing the chairman of disrespecting him.

"I have an important message from the elderly that will take just two minutes of parliament's time," said Mr Al Qadi.

"The elderly are not important it seems and if they are not then parliament is not what it claims to be - a representative of everyone."

Dr Al Dhahrani tried to calm him and said the letter should be discussed as an urgent issue at the end of the session.

"Don't exaggerate things, the elderly are respected, and we respect you here as the oldest, and instead of disrespecting authority you should set an example," he told Mr Al Qadi.

"Parliament has by-laws that should be followed and it is not the time or space for this vital issue that could be discussed later as an urgent matter."

Parliament second vice-chairman Shaikh Adel Al Ma'awada said parliament was an organised establishment, where everyone should follow regulations.

"All have to respect the authority of the chairman and Mr Al Qadi wants to run the show as a chairman when he is not," he said.

Discuss

However, MP Adel Al Asoomi spoke in defence of Mr Al Qadi, adding that several MPs have discussed certain issues at the beginning of sessions.

"Other MPs do the same and are not stopped, but as usual the chairmanship singles out particular individuals and disallows them from speaking," he said.

MPs quickly simmered down and the session continued, but Dr Al Dhahrani left mid-session to attend to other pressing issues.

Parliament first vice-chairman Abdulla Al Dossary then allowed Mr Al Qadi to read out the letter during discussions on giving the elderly 50 per cent discount cards on all government services.

Discussions on the proposal reached a deadlock and was referred back to the services committee for further study.

Mr Al Qadi chairs parliament during the absence of Dr Al Dhahrani or his two vice-chairmen.



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