Mulqi’s Cabinet… Why the Dip in Popularity?

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sat 17 September / Sep 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

The survey conducted by the Strategic Studies Centre at the University of Jordan (JU), published Saturday, on the public opinion regarding Dr Hani Mulqi’s government, 100 days after its formation, shows the public’s trust in the Cabinet has contracted.

To begin with, we must not forget, or rather dismiss the difficulty of the phase through Mulqi’s government had to endure, let alone the conciseness of the period of governance. And even though the Premier has insisted, repeatedly, that his government is not a transitional one, it despite all persistence is indeed so; given the upcoming Representative elections will play a decisive role in the Cabinet’s departure, or reformation by the same man: Dr Mulqi himself.

The government’s evaluation among the elite and the national sample has dropped, never mind the variance in the dips. And behind this stand a variety of reasons, including factors beyond Mulqi’s control, or his team; particularly the coarse economic situation Mulqi’s cabinet inherited off Dr Abdullah Nsoor’s and cumulative failures. There is also the signing of the new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was scheduled to be concluded in Dr Nsoor’s time, but was pushed unto the current team to be officially signed.

Accordingly, to implement the inevitable agreement with the Fund, the government has been forced into making decisions that caused prices to rise, reflectively on the public’s evaluation of the current government’s performance. People are beginning to compare both Nsoor’s and Mulqi’s governments, by these measures of course, primarily. Additionally, complaint on such decisions is only natural; it is because the public was not sufficiently addressed with necessary explanation that the people do not get it fully yet.

Hence, another reason why the popularity of Mulqi’s government has receded is the lack of proficient communication between the Prime Minister in particular and the public. He has yet to address the public in neither a written nor video-recorded interview, to explain to the people his programme and approach to bridge the absence of a government-Representative debate, with the Parliament suspended.

Honestly, I haven’t the slightest clue on whether or not Dr Mulqi’s scarcity of public appearances just happens to be a reflex to Dr Nsoor’s overly enthusiastic keenness to dominate the airwaves, to the point that it has reflected badly on the current PM. Still, this does not make Mulqi’s withdrawal of the public scene any less unprecedented; his retreat left a gap, save for the field visits early on, which may have come across as more or less unplanned and random.

The factors above, as well, coupled with many remarks on his team, which he inherited as well from Nsoor, which evidently would affect the Cabinet’s evaluation among the national sample, out of which 48 per cent now see the current Cabinet as fit to carry out the tasks of the current phase, down 8 percentiles from June’s 56 per cent poll. As for the upcoming phase; that is post the elections, the sample’s confidence in the Cabinet’s ability to handle its tasks dropped 10 points, respectively.

Now, to be fair, the Elections mood did not really help Mulqi, particularly in regards to the government’s readiness to not interfere with the election process, which has minimised the general margin otherwise available to retain confidence at least, instead of losing it.

And let us not forget, in the greater scheme of things, that addressing the complicated economic predicament, in such a way that would make a difference in the relatively suffocated public situation, takes time, which is something the people unfortunately, because of intensifying strain, do not have the luxury of. Subsequently, it is safe to say, that it is only natural that the public evaluation of Mulqi’s Cabinet would recede.

Through it all, it is known that public satisfaction fluctuates naturally. It can be fortified by shunning out inconsistencies and weakness among the team themselves, particularly the economic company, and their lack of a unified vision. It can also be sustained by reinforcing planned and clear communication of objectives and tasks to the public.

Nonetheless, the survey’s timing is highly crucial, as it prefaces the election and the declaration of results, which is followed by a variety of dues. The results of the survey itself, were not shocking. Any other government and premier would’ve not made any better scores in the standing light. Still, there is a chance ahead of Prime Minister Mulqi to work on addressing weaknesses, should expectations roll in as estimated.