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Bahrain king enacts reforms, opposition denounces them

Opposition: "There is no way these amendments can reflect popular will."

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Bahraini women hold posters of Ali Mushaima who was killed last year during the deadly crackdown on street protests, during a rally calling for political reforms in the Shiite village of Jidhafs, West Manama, on March 23, 2012. Thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets of Shiite villages around the capital to demand reforms, with some calling for the ouster of the Sunni-ruled regime. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Bahrain's King Hamad on Thursday enacted constitutional reforms aimed at mollifying the country's swelling protest movement, a move the opposition quickly decried as cosmetic, reported Reuters

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"The process of reform that marked the beginning of my tenure in power will not stop," the monarch said, according to AFP.  

The amendments, which force the king to consult with elected representatives before being allowed to dissolve parliament and give the legislature slightly more power, "have not ended the crisis," Reuters quoted Khalil Marzouq, a senior member of opposition bloc Wefaq, as saying Thursday. 

"There is no way these amendments can reflect popular will," he added. Wefaq has vowed protests will continue. 

The Sunni king, who came to the throne in the majority-Shiite Gulf nation in 1999, promised that reforms "will not stop," adding that "[d]oors remain open to dialogue, which is aimed at achieving a national accord," according to Agence-France Press.

Bahrain has been rocked by a year of massive protests in which more than 40 people are believed to have been killed 1,600 arrested as authorities moved to quell the mainly Shiite-led uprising against the ruling Sunni monarchy, said BBC.

Rights organizations have slammed the government over its crackdown on unrest, a situation that received renewed international attention during Bahrain's recent hosting of the Grand Prix. 

Bahrain is strategically located and hosts the US Navy's fifth fleet. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120504/bahrain-king-enacts-reforms-quickly-dismissed-opposition