November 9, 2014 / 1:37 PM / in 3 years

Bahrain's Justice Ministry ends action against Waad opposition

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Bahrain has dropped a case filed four months ago to suspend the activities of an opposition political group, the state news agency BNA said on Sunday, in a move that could ease tensions ahead of general elections.

The Justice Ministry in July asked a court to suspend the National Democratic Action Society, known as Waad, and two other groups, including the main opposition group Al Wefaq, for three months.

The ministry told the court it had based its decision to drop the case against Waad on the fact that the group had held its annual general conference and elected a new secretary general according to the law, BNA said.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, quelled a popular uprising in 2011 when majority Shi‘ite Muslims led mass protests demanding a greater role in running the Sunni-ruled island state, but low level civil unrest has persisted.

Talks between the government and mostly-Shi‘ite Muslim opposition have failed to end a political standoff. Many Shi‘ites complain of political and economic discrimination, a charge the authorities deny.

Bahrain is due to hold parliamentary elections on Nov. 22. Al Wefaq and other political associations, including Waad, have said they intend to boycott the poll to protest what they described as a vote where the results would be “fully controlled by the ruling authority”.

A Bahraini court last month ordered Al Wefaq’s activities suspended for three months, but the justice minister deferred implementation of the decision to give the group time to hold its annual general conference.

Al Wefaq has said it would hold its annual meeting in December.

Reporting By Maha El Dahan; editing by Sami Aboudi and Rosalind Russell

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