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Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
Established in 2001, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society is a Bahraini political party with close ties to the country's Islamic Scholars Council, a Shiite clerical body. The party supports increased power for the Bahraini parliament, along with general political reform within the government, including redrawing electoral constituencies, reallocating the budget to favor service ministries, and consolidating public freedoms. Al-Wefaq is socially conservative and contends that only religious authorities have the right to legislate on family law issues. While al-Wefaq supports women parliamentarians, it insists that they be well-educated and popular among constituents. The party’s foreign policy welcomes increased US democracy promotion efforts in Bahrain. Al-Wefaq draws its base from Bahrain's long-disenfranchised Shia majority (the government is led by a Sunni royal family). In 2006 the party won a plurality of seats in the Bahraini Chamber of Deputies. Politically led by Sheikh Ali Salman, the party's spiritual leader is Sheikh Eisa Qasim.