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Political, parliamentary affairs minister calls for active participation in elections

By Rana Husseini - May 15,2024 - Last updated at May 15,2024

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Haditha Khraisha on Wednesday urges citizens to head to the polls to elect MPs with practical programmes to serve the nation (Photo by Rana Husseini)

AMMAN — Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Haditha Khraisha on Wednesday urged citizens to head to the polls to elect MPs with practical programmes to serve the nation.

“We urge people to head to the polls to elect candidates whom they believe would work for the nations’ interest and the future generations,” Khraisha said.

The minister was speaking during a meeting with the local press journalists at the ministry’s headquarters in Amman.

On April 24, His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday ordered holding elections for the House of Representatives, in accordance with the law.

A Royal Decree was issued, in accordance with Paragraph I of Article 34 of the Constitution, ordering holding the elections in the manner stipulated in the law.

The Independent Elections Commission (IEC) set the Parliamentary elections for September 10 (Tuesday).

The minister told reporters that the ministry officials had been busy meeting with various sectors of society including clubs, universities, municipalities and local organisations to explain the election process.

“We are targeting all segments of the society including women, the youth and people with special needs with the aim of increasing the number of voters,” the minister explained.

During the 2020 elections, 1,386,749 voters cast their ballots, which represented 29.9 per cent out of around 4.6 million eligible voters.

Turning to political parties, the minister said there are 38 licensed political parties in the Kingdom, with more than 86,000 members affiliated with political parties.

“Thirty per cent of the seats will go to the political parties in the upcoming elections, but our future aim is for this percentage to become 65,” the minister said.

Khraisha stated that the essence of political reform is to expand the base of political participation and engage citizens in decision-making, as His Majesty King Abdullah emphasised in various meetings.

IEC officials have said recently that 41 seats in the Lower House of Parliament will be designated for political parties out of the 138 allocated seats, which represents around 30 per cent of the incoming 20th Parliament.

In 2022, the Senate and Lower House passed amendments to the Political Parties Law, which require political parties to increase the proportion of women and youth to at least 20 per cent within three years after their foundation.

There should be no less than 1,000 founding members of political parties, and at least 10 per cent should be women and young people between 18 and 35 years old, according to the new law. 

The law also allows university students who join political parties to engage in partisan activities on campus without any infringement on their rights, as a bylaw will be issued to regulate such activities. 

It also stipulates that a founding conference shall be held by the party within a year after meeting the requirements, where no less than a third of the party’s 1,000 founders shall attend, and must represent at least six governorates.   

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Khawaldeh also addressed reporters during the meeting stating that the ministry is working on a large-scale media campaign ahead of the September elections.

“We plan to transmit awareness messages related to the Parliamentary election process via local media and social media as well to reach as many people as possible,” Khawaldeh explained.

During a meeting on Tuesday with figures and representatives from Zarqa, His Majesty reaffirmed the importance of the upcoming parliamentary elections as a milestone in the process of political modernisation, adding that it requires the efforts and participation of all.

The King stressed during the meeting that was attended by HRH Crown Prince Hussein that the parliamentary elections represent the beginning of a new phase of partisan and parliamentary action.

Last month and during a visit in late April to the IEC, King Abdullah urged the IEC’s board of commissioners and staff to work to ensure the success of the electoral process, calling for zero tolerance of any violations.

His Majesty stressed that Jordan is embarking on an important stage of political modernisation, which is the beginning of a new phase of platform-based partisan and parliamentary action.

The King said he directed the government to provide all support to the IEC.

For his part, IEC President Musa Maaytah said the commission is ready to organise the election and announce its results transparently.

He noted that the IEC has published voters’ lists electronically, adding that the number of voters exceeds five million.

The IEC also launched an action plan to integrate persons with disabilities in the electoral process, by ensuring accessibility at 95 centres and recruiting volunteers, in cooperation with the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has published material to raise awareness and developed its website to address their needs.

 

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