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Political life ‘not mature enough’ due to lack of citizens’ trust — PM

Razzaz addresses concerns over political reforms, unemployment during lecture

By Renad Aljadid - Sep 10,2018 - Last updated at Sep 11,2018

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz takes part in the lecture on political reforms at the University of Jordan’s Centre of Strategic Studies on Sunday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — As Rawan Shamayleh, who introduced herself as a citizen from the Fourth Circle, took part in a lecture delivered by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz on Sunday, she asked him "if the political reforms were on his agenda”, while also criticising the election law, the restrictions on political parties, and the university students’ limited freedoms in political participation.

The lecture, held at the University of Jordan’s Centre of Strategic Studies, witnessed Razzaz stressing that the economic and political reforms should be achieved "in parallel".

“A powerful state is the foundation of democracy, where the rule of law, the separation of authorities, and the participation of citizens are essential,” the premier said, adding that the political parties’ law, the election law, the decentralisation and the institutionalisation are all major topics for dialogue with the society and the involved institutions.

He noted that these topics can neither be achieved quickly nor postponed, citing the Royal Discussion Papers in which His Majesty King Abdullah drew a roadmap to a democratic Jordan.

Razzaz stressed the government’s obligation to achieve political reforms, which he described as “deceptively simple”, noting that there has been a refrain from political participation due to historical reasons that led to a regress in the political parties instead of the desire multi-party system.

President of the UJ students’ union, Majd Sarsak, questioned the “role of youth in the coming phase, at a time when the ministers’ average age is in the fifties”.

He complained that the youth suffer from high unemployment rates and lack of opportunities, which pushes them to or look for jobs outside the country.

Razzaz referred to the Youth Ministry’s effective role in involving the youth, but said “he knows this is not enough”.

“We now seek to institutionalise the role of youth in the political and economic life on all levels,” the prime minister said, citing the importance of building the capacity and skills of the youth through summer camps, volunteering work, and the active students’ councils in schools and universities.

On the job opportunities, Razzaz said that the demand of the job market is changing, so the offered opportunities may not be available to all specialisations. However, he pledged that there will be several projects to employ the Jordanian human resources.

One of the attendees, who introduced himself as a a university professor, criticised the “rigidity” of some laws and regulations, which he said “contradicts logic and makes processes more difficult” in some cases, while the PM agreed that there should be a transition from “restricted authority” to “discretionary authority”.

Razzaz also dubbed the political life “not mature enough”, citing the gap of trust between the government and the citizens as “the biggest challenge”.

“We do not have a magical wand that can solve everything, but we are determined and working our hardest to make a change,” Razzaz told the audience, adding: “The positive change comes also from the people when all parties become partners in the dialogue and each contributes with a positive role.”

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