The Brighter Side of the Elections…'

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 16 August / Aug 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

It is exactly as the State Minister for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, said, these elections last Tuesday: doubt in the integrity of the elections is now a thing of the past.

Municipality Elections in particular have been subject to outrageous infringements and violations, not to mention systematic forgery and manipulation, for years.

Some of these infringements outdid the shocking manipulations of the Parliamentary Elections back in 2007.

When the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) began its work, the mission seemed somewhat impossible.

Now it is proven, that the once unattainable can indeed be attained.

Without fail, the IEC spared no effort in the endeavour to restore credibility and trust in the electoral process, and they have.

Monitory groups, and the ‘Rased’ team in particular, highlighted serious issues in the flow of the elections, but none of them were serious enough to compromise the polls’ integrity.

Violations cited mostly underlined the behaviours of the candidates and their proponents.

This, however, got to the point of actually storming three of the polling centres in the Central Badia district of Muwaqqar, smashing ballot boxes and tampering with the ballots.

Naturally, the IEC decided to scrap the results of the polls there, pending a redo for the election of three local councils to be scheduled at later date and time.

On the opposite side of this dim corner, there was good news to be heard elsewhere, like women candidates actually landing seats in at several Municipalities and Local Councils.

These women landed their seats by competition, aside to the quota.

In Sahhab, for instance, more than half of the Municipality Council is comprised of women. This counts for a lot in this district and its promising demographic.

Youth were significantly present in these elections, some of whom not even thirty years of age.

In Karak, Hamza Tarawneh, a young man in his twenties, was elected Mayor in one of the governorates largest districts; Moab.

Up North, in Irbid, one of the elected members of the municipality council there set a great example by getting up early to clean the streets of his town of the campaigns’ scraps and trash.

The elderly man picked up a broom, himself, and started cleaning off the garbage in an outright elaborate of his intent to serve the people.

Another example is the opposition’s participation, mainly the National Coalition for Reforms. They landed three mayor positions and dozens of their members voted into various councils across the Kingdom.

One of the opposition’s main figures, Ali Abul Sukkar, was elected Mayor of Zarqa, in a decisive test of the state’s intentions and the integrity of the elections.

He was elected mayor, despite his political views and affiliations.

The opposition’s stand on the elections is one of the primary indices of its integrity, on the side of the monitory reports and the media.

Likewise, the unexpected results in Irbid and Karak also confirm that the electoral process was premeditated or orchestrated by the state. It was all left for the constituencies.

In Zarqa, it was known that Abul Sukkar was going to win. All the surveys and official opinion polls confirmed it, ahead of the elections.

Still, the state didn’t even think to manipulate or interfere in the ballots.

Soon enough, the results of the local, decentralised elections will come out, once the full official results are done.

This newly found mechanism requires significant support and sponsorship by every state institution, so that it may not end up where it began. Worse still, so that it may not end up being just another, unnecessary administrative formation.

Councils and the elected bodies must be given the needed incentives to play their part, and for the residents of the governorates to feel the difference.

This is vital now as we are about to prepare next year’s budget; this may serve as a hands-on preparation, to help the residents of the governorates decide their developmental priorities.

Of course, this includes including them in the discussions, debates, and ratification of these priorities, in an open, continuous dialogue.

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