PROFILE OFFICIAL NAME:Kingdom of Bahrain GeographyArea: 727 km2. (274 sq. mi.); About four times larger than Washington, D.C. Bahrain is an archipelago of 36 islands off the east coast of Saudi Arabia. The four main islands are connected by embankment routes and account for about 95% of the total area. Cities: Capital-Manama, pop. 148,000. Other cities-Al Muharraq. Plot: Low desert plain (maximum altitude–122 m). Climate: warm and humid from May-September, with average maximum values of 30o-40o C (86o-104o F). Maximum temperatures average 20o-30o C (68o-86o F) the rest of the year.
PeopleNationality: Noun and Adjective–Bahraini (s). Population (July 2007): 708,535, of which approximately 235,108 foreigners. Annual growth rate (2007): 1.39%. Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%. Religions: 98% of Muslims (about 70%, Sunnis 30%), with small Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities. Languages: Arabic (official), English, Farsi and Urdu are also widespread. Education: Education is not compulsory, but is provided free of charge in Bahrainis and abroad at all levels, including higher education. Estimated primary school attendance (1991-2001) -84%. Adult literacy, age 15 and over (2003 est.) –89.1% for the total population (male 91.9%, female 85%).
Health: infant mortality (2007) –16.18 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy-72 years men, 77 years of women. Employment (2006): 352,000 of them are foreigners. GovernmentType: hereditary constitutional monarchy. Independence: 15 August 1971 (from the United Kingdom). Constitution: adopted and promulgated on 26 May 1973; Suspended on August 26, 1975; The National Charter of Action was approved by national referendum on 14 and 15 February 2001 and a new constitution was adopted on 14 February 2002. Branches: Executive–King (head of state); Prime Minister (head of government); The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the king and presided over by the Prime Minister. The bicameral Parliament (al-Majlis al-Watani) consists of a 40-member council of representatives (elected in December 2006, the next election scheduled for 2010) and a 40-member advisory council appointed by the king. Members of both chambers work for four years. Tribunal – High Court of Civil Appeal. The judiciary is independent and has the right to judicial review.
Administrative structure: 12 communes (manatiq): Al Hidd, Al Manamah, Al Mintaqah al Gharbiyah, Al Mintaqah al Wusta, Al Mintaqah ash Shamaliyah, Al Muharraq, Ar Rifa`wa al Mintaqah al Janubiyah, Jidd Hafs, Madinat Hamad, Madinat `Isa, Jurzu Hawar, Sitrah. Political societies represented in Parliament: al Wifag, al Asala, al Minbar, al Mustaqbil.Suffrage: Universal at the age of 18.