Liberals and Islamists in the Bahraini parliament joined forces to issue a resolution that bans the sale of alcohol and closes night clubs throughout the country.
The unprecedented alliance came in the aftermath of a complaint by the Islamist bloc , which called upon the government to implement a decision taken by the former information minister last year banning the sale of alcohol in all hotels except those with stars, but no action was taken.
Liberals declared solidarity with Islamists on Tuesday not only regarding the implementation of the former minister's decision but also calling for a general ban on alcohol and the closure of nightclubs.
Islamists differed on how to implement the new policy, however, with some urging immediate action and others calling for a gradual change.
Mohamed Khaled from al-Menbar al-Islami bloc called for the ban to be imposed within one month.
"The situation is grave. Teenagers are drinking alcohol and partying in nightclubs," he said in an interview with AlArabiya.net.
Salafi MP Adel al-Moawda argued that the ban should be gradual, while Salafi independent MP Jassem al-Saedi said a complete ban would be difficult to implement and suggested imposing restrictions on selling and buying alcohol.
Adel al-Maasoumi, from the liberal bloc, said he supported the ban because Bahrain is an Islamic country.
On Monday, authorities closed five alcohol stores in the Bahraini capital Manama. Several alcohol companies in Bahrain as well as scores of hotels and stores sell alcohol.
Observes questioned the feasibility of implementing the decision for touristic reasons, especially since the complaint MPs submitted was not binding for the government.
Former MP Abdul-Nabi Suleiman thought it was unlikely that the government would consider the proposal, but downplayed the negative economic a ban could have since "the economy is basically dependent on oil."
There are no official statistics of the effect of alcohol business on the national economy, but specialists have it that its annual revenue exceeds 20 million dinars ($52 million).
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)