Customary Speculations: The Fate of the Government

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 30 July / Jul 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The political and media spheres in Jordan are sunk in endless speculations of possible government reshuffles after the series of unfortunate events Jordan has seen recently.

From the unfolding of the Jafr case to the Israeli Embassy incidents and all the following repercussions of both, in addition to a multitude of domestic issues.

As usual, speculations have covered all possible candidates, as well as timing.

Will it be a fundamental reshuffle or will it be limited to certain offices? Will it be before or after the upcoming elections? Most believe it will probably come after the elections.

This time though, the area of speculation is wider than it usually is. It covers possible reassignments at the Royal Court and other important positions.

Typically, talk on government reshuffles and reassignments is nearly customary in Jordan, despite the stability we’ve seen in the last few 4-year governments.

Still, politicians are hopeful the 4x4 basis will be abandoned, and that the previous method would be restored

Had the Parliament been in ordinary sessions, maybe MPs could move to withdraw confidence in the government. It may not have worked, but the House of Representatives would be more able to impose their rhythm and push forward certain options and candidates, like they did in the aftermath of the Karak terrorist attacks not long ago.

Unfortunately for them, though, the House of Representatives is in extraordinary session, and the tension between the House and Cabinet is not going to be relieved any time soon. Especially after the Israeli Embassy incident.

The government has to inform the House of every single detail and development in the Embassy case. Otherwise, it is going to linger long; long enough to cause problems for the Cabinet with the reconvention of the Parliament, in the next ordinary sessions, within the next few months.

The Prime Minister has made a strong legal-diplomatic case on the incident during the National Policy Council’s meet. His view addressed all sides of the issue.

I have no idea why the premier has yet to present it to Parliament in an unofficial session.

Surely by doing so, they will be met by a more empathetic and understanding audience.

In my estimation, government reshuffles in this particular phase is not exactly an option.

There is an encompassing, pressing need to develop the public institution and fill the gaps in the loosely collaborative mechanisms of the government bodies.

As we speak, suggestions are being brought to the table to ensure a leaner flow of information and media-public access to it in record time.

Not long ago, during the Karak incidents, we saw how shortcoming the public address and official communication mechanisms are. Solutions were devised, but the problem resurfaced on a grander scale during this most recent incident.

With the failure of the conventional approach, officials and specialists are working outside of the box to devise more effective solutions.

Generally speaking, the shortcomings of the Embassy incident was less related to communication and more related to the entirety of the approach.

The absence of a clear method, in dealing with crisis, such as the Embassy crisis, is reflective, evidently, on the official media level. The performance of the official media is only reflective of the performance of the official body as a whole.

In the absence of a solid official rhetoric, the media body cannot be held responsible in isolation.

More so, it is safe to say that confidence in the government has taken yet another steeper leap in the aftermath of the Embassy incident.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise; the public opinion is not open to understanding the legal position of the government which prevent the Israeli murderer from standing trial in Jordan.

This is especially true now, in light of the ongoing turmoil in Jerusalem and the scale of Jordanian engagement in the issue.

Any government would have suffered the same outcomes as did Mulqi’s, in terms of popularity and consideration.

In the face of all this, the reshuffle really serves no purpose politically, unless it is followed by a radical shift in the State’s most basic policies and approaches, which doesn’t seem possible.

Focus in the next phase will be on the development of official performance and tools, not substitutions in Cabinet.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.