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Royal Committee’s recommendations aim to boost political life in Jordan — RCMPS members

By Rana Husseini - Oct 04,2021 - Last updated at Oct 04,2021

AMMAN – The Royal Committee to Modernise the Political System (RCMPS) members on Sunday said the recommendations, which included two new draft laws for elections and political parties and other constitutional amendments, will boost the political life in Jordan and empower women and youth. 

On Sunday, His Majesty King Abdullah received the committee’s outcomes report during a meeting at the Royal Hashemite Court with the chairperson and members of the RCMPS.

The King reiterated during the meeting that the democratic model Jordanians seek is an embodiment of the political will and national interest. 

His Majesty said the political system establishes for a new and critical phase in line with efforts to modernise the state in its second centennial, adding that political reform is being implemented in parallel to the government’s economic and administrative reforms. 

In addition, the report included recommendations on advancing local administration laws, expanding participation in decision-making, and enhancing an enabling political and legislative environment for further engagement of women and youth in public life.     

President of the RCMPS’ Political Parties’ Committee Adnan Sawair told The Jordan Times that the RCMPS was entrusted with the mission of developing the political scene in Jordan.

“Our main concern was to ensure a strong political scene in Jordan to achieve the desired reforms,” Sawair said.

 “Our main focus was on the Political Parties and Elections Laws,” the former MP added.

 “We realise that people lost faith in some of the former Lower House of Parliaments, which swayed many from heading to the polling booths. Our mission was to change this situation,” added Sawair, who served in the 2007 and the 2013 Lower House of Parliament.

He added: “We wanted to come up with laws that would ensure that the political parties and individuals from different backgrounds are represented in the Lower House of Parliament working as groups rather than individuals and will have a say in the future of their lives and country”.

Sawair added that he was optimistic following the meeting with King Abdullah because “he assured us that he supported our recommendations and so will the government”.

The King emphasised that the outcomes of the modernisation system will go through the constitutional channels, so that the government would adopt the outcomes without any intervention, and submit them to Parliament.

In addition, he added that the formation of the RCMPS was “the result of the true conviction by the leadership of this country for the need to ensure political reforms and not because of popular pressure or demonstrations”.

During elections, the Kingdom is divided into 18 local electoral districts and one national general district, the committee suggested, adding that 41 seats, out of a total of 138 seats, would be allocated for the general district.

Among its recommendations, the committee proposed adopting a mixed electoral system that includes two levels of representation: National general districts and local districts.

The committee, which King Abdullah entrusted former premier Samir Rifai with chairing in June, includes members from across the political and ideological spectrum, delivered a report that includes new draft laws for elections and political parties, and suggested constitutional amendments related to the two laws and parliamentary work. 

Recommendations also focused on regulating local governance and the creation of a legislative and political environment that guarantees the participation of youth, women, and persons with disabilities.

Head of the RCMPS’ Women Empowerment Committee Samar Haj Hassan also praised the outcome of the three-month mission that was conducted by the Royal Committee.

“I felt that our work was comprehensive and coordinated since we discussed all the laws and issues related to the political participation in public life in a comprehensive approach. We worked as one team and supported each other,” Haj Hassan, a former senator, said.

She referred to the diversity and different backgrounds of people who were part of the Royal committee, which helped in “becoming more knowledgeable of what needed to be addressed in order to come up with the right outcome that would serve our country”.

Haj Hassan added that the committee members reached out to various local organisations, youth and women to learn more about their priorities so that they would be more empowered in the political process”.

“What we came out with in terms of the women committee is a quantitative leap, which will create a great impact in the public and political life,” Haj Hassan stressed.

To enhance the political participation of youth and women, the law lowered the age of candidacy to 25 years, stipulating that electoral lists should include at least a young man or woman of no more than 35 years of age who ranks among the first five candidates.

At the level of the general district, one female candidate should be ranked among the first three candidates, and another female candidate should be ranked among the next three candidates.

For each local district, an additional seat is allocated for women.

 “Our main goal was to make sure that women will have equality, citizenship, equal opportunities and fair representation. This was our main principle that we focused on when we had our discussions in the committee,” Haj Hassan said.

“The ball now is in the court of the women, the youth and civil society orgainsations to lobby the MPs to support and endorse the committee’s recommendations,” Haj Hassan concluded.

 

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