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New elections law ‘in final stages’ — minister

By Raed Omari - Sep 11,2014 - Last updated at Sep 11,2014

AMMAN — The government is putting the final touches on the new parliamentary elections law to be endorsed by the Council of Ministers before it is submitted to Parliament early next year, according to a senior official.

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh said that the key political reform law is now in "the final stages" and will be referred to the Cabinet for endorsement and then to the Legislative and Opinion Bureau for examination.

In a telephone interview with The Jordan Times on Thursday, Kalaldeh said: "The keystone law will be referred then to the Lower House for deliberations and is expected to be completed by the beginning of next year."

The minister also said that opening dialogues with political parties, professional associations, civil society organisations, labour unions and other segments concerned with the law will be the job of the Lower House, adding that preparing the draft law is the government’s only role.

Declining to give further details on the provisions of the draft law, Kalaldeh said that the government has incorporated into the bill recommendations, suggestions and notes provided by previously-formed committees, the National Centre for Human Rights and those raised in the press.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour has recently said that the Cabinet has not discussed any draft of the new elections law, but will be ready with this key reform bill early next year.

Revisiting the 2012 Elections Law has been a pressing demand for political parties, especially the Islamic Action Front, which demanded that the one-person, one-vote system be abolished. 

Under the current law, on the basis of which the 2013 parliamentary elections were held, each voter is given two votes: one for a candidate at the district level and another for a closed proportional list that competes for 27 seats at the national level.

The parliamentary elections law is part of a legislative package at the core of political reform, also including the political parties bill, which has already been referred to lawmakers, the decentralisation plan and the municipal elections law.  

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