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New by-law on party funding ‘will encourage political activity’

By Khetam Malkawi - Aug 09,2016 - Last updated at Aug 09,2016

AMMAN — A new by-law on political party financing will encourage parties to be active in shaping political life in the Kingdom, a top official said on Tuesday. 

Under the draft by-law, which was approved by the Cabinet last month, the amount of government financial support allocated to a political party would depend on the party’s performance in elections, explained Musa Maaytah, minister of political and parliamentary affairs. 

The envisioned parliamentary government system requires mature political parties with representatives in Parliament, said Maaytah, adding that the new regulations would not come into effect until after the upcoming elections.  

He noted that under the proposed amendments, political parties could borrow up to JD20,000 from the government for electoral campaigning, adding that the financing would be in the form of loans as the government could not directly finance party campaigns.  

An additional JD5,000 will be offered to parties that form coalitions, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported in July. 

The government said the by-law was aimed at enabling parties with clearly defined platforms to reach Parliament, Petra reported.

Maaytah was speaking at a workshop on the financing of political parties, organised by the German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Al Badeel Centre for Studies and Research.

A study on the mechanisms of financing political parties, conducted by parliamentary affairs expert Waleed Husni, was launched at the workshop. 

Husni studied the political party financing by-law of 2008 and its 2012 amendments, and found that “financing parties had not had a positive impact on their expansion or strength”.  

According to Husni, the lack of progress was due to the small amount allocated to parties and the failure to monitor how they spent it. 

Each party received JD50,000 which was usually spent on managerial costs and rent, said the researcher, who studied 30 of the 42 licensed parties in Jordan.  

Of the parties studied, 24 had received financial support from the government while six had not because they were newly registered. 

The parties studied suggested that the government should link the amount of support allocated to a party to the number of its members and representatives in Parliament, Husni said. 

Under the by-law, the government will contribute JD50,000 every year with an additional amount of JD50,000 if the party’s candidates run in at least 35 per cent of the constituencies and the candidates had been members of the party for at least one year before Lower House elections.

 

Some 23 of the parties included in the study, which was carried out in April, said they would participate in the September 20 elections.

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