An Appraisal of Jordan Governments…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 9 October / Oct 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

Jordan has seen a variety of governments over the decades; strong, coarse, ironclad governments, as well as weak and hesitant ones, including some devoid of colour and identity.

Usually, the strength of the government is bound by the strength of its premier; whether or not he had the leader’s charisma needed to administrate his ministerial crew.

In many instances, the persona of the Prime Minister would enable the government’s establishment of constitutional authority; with a weak premier, the government’s authorities would often be surpassed by that of other institutions, with less constitutional pull. Hesitation as well, leaves place for other decision makers to step in.

Not a single government, nonetheless, in Jordan’s brief but rich history has operated in complete autonomy from adjacent and other authorities and decision making institutions in the state; it is neither constitutionally possible, nor is it in anybody’s best interests. In many occasions however, the tiers and level of coordination and cooperation would vary from one government to another, from a convergence that insure the attainment of objectives and goals without the incursion of authorities.

We have seen that kind of governments come and go, with prime ministers who cannot make a move without permission. Others remained in office for a long time, not because they were good at what they did, but because they were backed by other agencies and institutions.

Despite what one would think, this wasn’t always the case; some prime ministers were quite capable, devoted to King and Country, and had served with utter dedication and wisdom.

However prevalent, the thought that our security agencies and the higher decision centres deliberately take over the roles of government and subdue their authorities is incorrect. In many occasions, the government had begged for other parties to step in, forgoing their authorities willingly, hoping they would win the favour of decision makers and remain in office for longer durations of time.

Still, when governments fail to secure the confidence of the House of Representatives, for example, they usually run to their “friends” laps for help! Now, who’s to blame here?  The friend? Or the prime minister who could not responsibly uphold his tasks and duties to store the MPs trust?

When a prime minister is delegated to form the government, but still accepts the recommendation list of candidates without question, then it would be safe to say that it is the premier’s fault, not the “helpers”. The constitution grants the prime minister an indivisible right that comes with His Majesty’s assignment to form the government, to do so wholeheartedly; who on earth has the authority to strip him of the right graced to him by the King’s trust himself?

When we, as journalists, go deep behind the curtains of the formation of Jordanian governments, either through documents acquired or political memoirs, or even through conversations with former prime ministers under the reigns of both late King Hussein, as well as King Abdullah II, we uncover that not a single minister was enforced, not once; and that the prime minister was capable, always, of picking his own ministers, had he defended his constitutional rights properly.

Jordan has a rich legacy of consecutive governments; noting that some of our strongest governments had safeguarded the Country’s interests ferociously, and protected the throne from the percussions of political stresses and the follies of executive authorities throughout the decades. Still, weak governments had been known to fail, with disappointing policies, and further regression of public confidence and loss of prestige.