|Bahrain was a customary Arab monarchy,
ruled since 1782 by an Emir selected from the al-Khalifa dynasty
through an appointed cabinet led by a Prime Minister.
Constitutional changes introduced by the current Emir, Sheikh
Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, in February 2002, launched
him as head of state of a constitutional monarchy.
The Emir rules with the support of an appointed cabinet
of Ministers. He is also advised by the Majlis as-Shura
(People’s Council), which was elected for the 1st time in
October 2002. Its 40 members serve in single seat constituencies
for a 4 year term.