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Outcomes of Royal Committee to Modernise Political System promising — rapporteur

By Rana Husseini - Sep 26,2021 - Last updated at Sep 26,2021

AMMAN — The rapporteur of the Royal Committee to Modernise the Political System Amer Bani Amer expressed his pride in the national entities’ outcome following the conclusion of its work last week.

During a recent interview with a local TV station, Bani Amer was quoted as saying that “people’s minds and attitudes towards the committee's work will change once they are fully aware of its outcome”.

“What has been accomplished is very important, and the reform process came at a time when Jordan is introducing political reforms while it is in its political prosperity,” Bani Amer stressed.

“Jordan leads the region with its political model”, and the government and Parliament should lead this effort, he added.

Bani Amer said based on the recommendations, Parliament will consist of 138 seats, including 18 seats allocated for women, while maintaining the seven allocated seats for Circassians and two for Christians.

The previous law stipulated the allocation of 15 seats for women in the Lower House of Parliament.

He also pointed out that the committee recommended two kinds of seats: 97 for the local lists and 41 for the national lists.  The voters can cast two votes, including one for the national list and one for the local list.

In addition, Bani Amer said that the committee recommended introducing stiffer punishment for grave elections violations such as vote buying, by imposing heavy financial fines and restricting violating candidates from running for elections for two consecutive times.

“We examined over 140 reports and examined over 190 recommendations from various entities as well as examining some 30 scenarios related to the elections process,” Bani Amer explained.

Last week, the committee completed its work by endorsing the draft law of elections and proposals for constitutional amendments related to the laws of elections and political parties, as well as the mechanisms for parliamentary oversight.

The committee’s general assembly had previously endorsed the outcomes of four of its sub-committees, including drafts of the laws of local administration and political parties, besides recommendations to create a legislative and political environment that guarantees the role of youth and women in public life.

The committee is expected to finish its work by the end of the month and will prepare a document of outcomes to be referred to His Majesty King Abdullah.  

Adnan Sawair, the head of the political parties’ sub-committee, told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, last week that the political parties’ draft law establishes a "new era" of party-based work, by pushing party participation in Jordan's parliamentary elections and government formation.

Sawair said that the bill also allows university students to join political parties and transfers political records to the Independent Election Commission.

He added that the draft law also allows people to join parties electronically.

King Abdullah reaffirmed in June during a meeting with the committee members that Jordan’s reform process, which is an ongoing effort over the history of the state, will continue in its second centennial.

During the meeting that was attended by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, King Abdullah said that the process of advancing the efforts of the ancestors will continue, with Prince Hussein at his side, to forge ahead on the course of modernisation and development.

His Majesty underscored the magnitude of the committee’s responsibility and noted the vast experience of its members who represent various viewpoints across the political spectrum, asserting this will positively impact the panel’s outcomes.

Emphasising that the objective is to modernise the political system, leading to a parliamentary and partisan life befitting of Jordanians and Jordan’s democratic path, the King called for defining the end goal of the political development process, forming a clear plan to achieve it and communicate it to citizens, and arriving at a parliament that includes platform-based blocs.

His Majesty stressed the need to create an environment conducive to expanding the base of political engagement, and ensuring the active participation of women and youth in public life.

The King voiced hope to see Jordanians fully engaged in political life and confident in partisan work, reiterating that the door is open to all proposals and views and that everyone’s engagement in dialogue is needed, with the main goal being Jordan’s and Jordanians’ interests.

His Majesty said the political reform track should be in parallel to an economic and administrative track, noting Royal directives to the government to set a well-defined economic programme in the coming weeks with specific implementation timeframes.

The King added that it is important for the programme to be in partnership with the private sector to achieve economic recovery and growth, and create employment, which is necessary to move the economy forward, establish development projects, and tangibly improve public services.

Chair of the Royal Committee to Modernise the Political System Samir Rifai pledged, during the meeting with King, that the committee will forego preconceptions and personal opinion, and maintain an open attitude throughout its work. 

He noted that the panel prioritises working towards fostering a legislative and political environment, and proposing election and parties laws, as well as recommendations for local administration, in addition to any necessary amendments to constitutional provisions and methods of parliamentary engagement.

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