Behind the Minister’s Fury…

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Wed 4 January / Jan 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Thu 5 January / Jan 2017. 12:30 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

What happened Monday was unusual to the Jordanian political scene; when Interior Minister Salameh Hammad objected Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Dr Mohammad Thuneibat’s request of the House of Representatives to postpone the vote on withdrawing confidence in Hammad, submitted in a memo 10 days ago, on the basis that the Karak incidents were Hammad’s failures.

Hammad rained his fury on his desk, banging, despite government leaks reaffirming that he was beforehand informed of the Prime Minister’s decision, who was attending his mother’s funeral at the time. He knows that pushing off the vote was not in his best interests. It would have served him well had there been a vote held on the memo’s motion to censure Hammad, failingly, as it is expected to.

Why? For two main reasons;

First, it would count as an explicit acquittal of Hamamd from his alleged ‘shortcoming’ in the Karak events, extended by the House of Representatives, which would mean —contrary to the very purpose of the motion itself— the reiteration and renewal of confidence in the Minister, reinforcing his strength.

The second reason is the Minister’s knowledge that the government’s request to postpone the motion is rooted in an expected and wide Cabinet reshuffle, cooking backstage, anticipated in the aftermath of the Arab Summit in Amman, even though it could be accelerated after the events in Karak and the drama under the dome last Monday.

Accordingly, Hammad is expected to be among the departing Ministers; so, he doesn’t want to be ‘played’, sort of speak, between a memo threatening to censure him, and undisclosed promises of his departure!

The Minister hoped to score points in his innermost fight within the Cabinet, as well as before the Public Opinion, now as the ridge widens between him, the rest of his Cabinet colleagues, and the centres of decision within the State, which would make it certain that; should the premier endure the coming phase, the Minister of Interior’s name will be on the shuffle list.

Meanwhile, as colleague Fahed Khitan said in his Tuesday article, massive weight is being pulled by the Decision Centres and MPs to cool the memo out. MPs were reaffirmed that it will backfire, and that it will, therefore, hurt the extensive reshuffle soon anticipated; meaning that a parliamentary-governmental collaboration was the reason the motion was put off, which is what infuriated Hammad to the point of him unusually banging on the table!

However, let us imagine another scenario; what if the motion was passed, and no one intervened to save the Minister, unexpectedly; the vote was held, and the minister was censured? What is on stake for the State? And what is so worrying about this scenario?!

Either one of two things, or both! First, I cannot see how censuring Hammad would hurt the Premier’s anticipated reshuffle! Hammad’s substitute can stay through the reshuffle!

Second; a successful vote to withdraw confidence in a minister is unexpectedly exceptional in the current political situation, which could set the MP’s ball rolling, giving Parliament the push it needs to stand up to the government. The question is, Why not? Why not give the House this moment to restore their image and the public’s trust in the Legislative authority?!

Last but not least, the Cabinet’s image over the last few days is worse than image, conveying only weakness and incoherence among the members of Cabinet; which is only true of the current Cabinet since they took on office!

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