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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 10:21 GMT
Bahrain names Shia deputy premier
Bahraini prime minister votes in elections
The prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa, has been in office since 1971
The Sunni Muslim-ruled Gulf state of Bahrain has appointed its first Shia Muslim deputy prime minister.

Jawad Oraied, a government supporter and former minister, is one of three deputies to PM Sheikh Khalifa.

All of the others are members of the ruling family of Bahrain, including Sheikh Khalifa, who has been prime minister since independence in 1971.

The main Shia opposition group, al-Wifaq, won 17 of the 40 seats in recent parliamentary polls.

The new 24-member cabinet appointed by Bahrain's King Hamad contains one supporter of al-Wifaq, Nizar Baharna, as a junior foreign minister.

Mr Baharna is a former founder of the party, the full name of which is the Islamic National Accord Association, but he left it in 2004 to concentrate on his business interests.

Al-Wifaq supporters accused King Hamad and the al-Khalifa clan of naming only obedient politicians who would look after the ruling family's interests.

Last week, a 40-member Shura, or consultative, council was appointed by the king, with powers to veto legislation by the elected parliament.

The long-serving foreign and defence ministers, both from the ruling family, kept their posts.

Correspondents say pro-government Sunni Islamists also fared well in the elections, giving relatively liberal Bahrain a parliament dominated by Islamists.

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