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Lawmaker warns against endorsing elections bill as is

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 13,2016 - Last updated at Feb 13,2016

DEAD SEA — As the Lower House legal committee is set to vote on the draft elections law this week, an analyst and a lawmaker called for pressure on the Houser not to endorse the bill as it was referred by the government.

"There are attempts by the government to place pressure on the Lower House to endorse the law as is… some changes to the law are required," Deputy Jamil Nimri said during a gathering on “Media and Elections”, organised by the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) and the Community Media Network (CMN).

"The law needs some amendments that are really important. Therefore, civil society organisations and activists should lobby the Lower House not to endorse the law in its current format," Nimri said during the event, which concluded on Friday. 

Experts and officials at the Dead Sea gathering discussed the need for a specialised media strategy on covering elections.

Oraib Rantawi, director of Al Quds Centre for Political Studies, had similar views to Nimri's.

"If the law is passed as it came from the government, it will be a big problem. Several meetings were held with various segments of the Jordanian community. Thousands of recommendations during these meetings came up regarding the need for some amendments in the law," Rantawi said.

"If the Lower House endorses the law as it was referred from the government, then why were all those meetings held? This would be a big blow to all national dialogue sessions and meetings to get society's feedback," he added.

Last year, the government endorsed a draft elections law intended to change the controversial one-person, one-vote electoral system.

Under the draft law, a political party can run for Parliament under an open list system, in more than one constituency or governorate. 

The draft is similar to the 1989 Elections Law, but the government says it is better because the proposed open list gives all social segments, community leaders and parties the chance to run for Parliament.

Several topics were discussed during the two-day event, which was funded by USAID and supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, including the need for training media outlets on covering elections. 

 

Participants also looked into the need for creating more rich and accurate content to inform the public and encourage a large voter turnout in elections. 

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