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MP calls for amending House by-laws to regulate blocs

By Khaled Neimat - Jan 30,2013 - Last updated at Jan 30,2013

AMMAN — The Lower House’s by-laws should be amended to ensure the sustainability of blocs under the Dome and prevent MPs from moving without restrictions from one bloc to another in a way that would derail coalitions as Jordan embarks on a parliamentary government experience, a veteran deputy said on Wednesday.

MP Mustafa Shneikat, who won one of the seats allocated for the national district, said any bloc in parliament is unlikely to last for long, particularly after the MPs select members of the permanent office and elect the speaker.

The parliament’s extraordinary session is expected to commence later in February.

MPs usually leave their blocs based on their political interests and nothing can prevent them from jumping from one bloc to another, he said, noting that this was a common phenomenon in previous parliaments.

He called for amending the by-laws by adding certain regulations that govern the alignment system in parliament.

Attempts to amend the regulations started almost 10 years ago, and a draft of the amendments was prepared in 2004, according to Shneikat, who added that “influential MPs” aborted the amendments.

The veteran MP, who led the People ticket in this year’s parliament race, is contacting MPs to form a bloc of leftist and Pan-Arab deputies, in a step to run for House speaker.

Several political powers and leading parliamentarians are currently working extensively to form blocs, with each claiming that their bloc will be the largest under the Dome.

Forming strong blocs is a prerequisite to discussing the distribution of permanent office positions including speaker of the House, Shneikat said.

Six deputies have already expressed their desire to lead blocs and to run for speaker, but only four have stepped up openly as potential contenders.

The Islamic Centrist Party, which won three national district seats and 13 local district seats, is also contacting other MPs to form a bloc, parliamentary sources said.

The party has touted its secretary general, Mohammed Al Haj, as a potential candidate for Lower House speakership.

Other potential contenders include former speakers Abdul Karim Dughmi and Saad Hayel Srour, Deputy Amjad Majali, former deputy speaker Atef Tarawneh and National Union Party leader Mohammad Khashman.

Meanwhile, the National Current Party (NCP), led by veteran politician Abdul Hadi Majali, is mulling several options, including the resignation of its leader from the House and the contestation of election results in court, a source from the party said on condition of anonymity.

The NCP won one seat on the national level and around 20 local district seats.

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