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19-06-2012 - Gulfnews/By Habib Toumi

Bahrain's liberal leader calls for society unity moves

The former leader of Bahrain's second largest liberal society has called for action to overcome differences that were threatening its unity.

The Progressive Democratic Tribune, often referred to as the Democratic Tribune, is going through turbulent times after members of its newly formed political bureau have resigned, citing irreconcilable differences over political issues.

"The society needs to overcome these difficult times together," Hassan Madan said. "We have been through critical times and we were the only society to have a serious introspection to assess our attitudes and decide on the line of conduct. We need to work together within a forward-looking atmosphere and see how we can reinforce our progress," said Hassan, who led the society until April when his final term as secretary general ended.

The elections of a new 25-member political bureau and of former lawmaker Abdul Nabi Salman as the new secretary general on June 9 seemed to have caused concerns among adherents that the society would lose its independence and that it would align its political approaches with those of other opposition societies.

Attempts by Abdul Nabi Salman, who represented the society in the 2002-2006 parliament, failed to allay concerns.

"The Democratic Tribune is a vivacious society where divergent opinions are seen as a positive feature that promotes genuine political and partisan activities," he said on June 9, a short time after he was confirmed as the new secretary general.

"I am fully confident that all the leaders and members of our society are keen on its unity thanks to a strong belief in our capabilities to assume the historic roles that have always been our mark and from which we have never deviated despite the difficulties and obstacles we had to face," he said.

However, for some members, the Democratic Tribune, which for months took an uncompromising stance alongside other opposition societies before distancing itself from them, reforms and pushing forward the anti-sectarianism stance must be the key words.

"We have tried to reform the society from the inside and create a positive atmosphere of understanding and common work," a statement released by the members who have resigned said. "However, all doors have been shut and we were, therefore, forced to resign from the political bureau," they said.

The members will however remain with the Democratic Tribune, the society that was formed in 2002, mainly by former exiles from the underground communist National Liberation Front after they returned home.

According to the statement, the Democratic Menbar should regain its role as "the leader of independent enlightenment in Bahrain, away from sectarian deviations that are plaguing the Bahraini society."

"However, it has become clear to us that this goal will not be achieved after the failure to have a diversified leadership that represents all opinions and viewpoints," the statement said.


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