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Debate tackles possibility of political unrest in Jordan

By JT - Dec 12,2012 - Last updated at Dec 12,2012

AMMAN — A majority of participants in an interactive debate that took place in Amman on Tuesday night said they do not believe the country will face political turmoil in the future.

In a discussion organised by the New Arab Debates (NAD), a total of 58 per cent voted against the motion “This House believes Jordan is on the brink of serious political turmoil and unrest” after 90 minutes of discussions, a statement from the organisers said on Wednesday.

Before the start of the debate, 59 per cent of the audience had voted for the motion in a preliminary poll.

On Monday, a similar debate was held in English, with 54 per cent voting for the motion, the organisers said.

Speaking against the motion, Minister of Political Development and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Bassam Hadaddin said the Jordanian regime has shown “political tact and flexibility” in dealing with calls for reform, resulting in the amendment of a third of the Constitution, the launch of the Independent Election Commission and the establishment of a Constitutional Court.

Responding to criticism, the minister said reform cannot be realised “overnight” and that the upcoming Parliament will not be “perfect”, according to the statement.

He underlined that the elections will be held with utmost integrity, noting that there is a “firm political will that we shall move forward and create genuine changes in the parliamentary and political game and alter the ruling methods”.

Hadaddin said the government has decided to leave the decision to raise the prices of electricity to the coming government, which will be formed after the parliamentary elections, voicing his understanding of the series of protests that broke out after a recent decision to lift fuel subsidies.

Meanwhile, former deputy Ali Abul Sukkar, chairman of the Islamic Action Front shura council, who argued for the motion, said the opposition is wise and more concerned about the stability and security of the country than policy makers.

He added that the public has shown that they need peaceful reform, but the “regime did not make use of the street’s proposals”, the statement said.

Abul Sukkar noted that although there is a commission to combat corruption, “corruption continues” and the government has failed to search for those who really “stole from the country”.

He charged that the government’s measures to compensate citizens for lifting fuel subsidies “affronts people’s dignity”.

NAD is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Arab Partnership Participation Fund at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The series will be aired on Deutche Welle TV in both Arabic and English and on the Public Broadcasting Service in the US, reaching an audience of over 100 million. 

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