A Government on the Clock

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 5 February / Feb 2018. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Mon 5 February / Feb 2018. 11:41 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

The government has ten days before the House of Representatives puts to vote a memo to withdraw confidence in the government, put up by MPs of the reforms bloc.

Many among the government see no need to postpone the vote until the Prime Minister returns from his medical trip.

Nonetheless, expectations are that the voting session will be held upon Premier Hani Mulqi’s return next week.

Evidently, the legislative and executive authorities are not keen on such a test under the dome. Especially under such circumstances.

However, the signatories’ unwavering position has caused the vote to stand.

MPs of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) and their supports beyond the bloc know for a fact that the chances the government is voted out are slim. Regardless the outcome of this parliamentary manoeuvre, it is for obvious reasons necessary to restore some confidence among their constituencies. Since their withdrawal from the Budget Bill voting session earlier, the Islamists have been under merciless scrutiny and criticism.

They long to score a favourable opinion among Jordanians, as an opposition bloc, to hold the rest of the House responsible to the people, for not toppling the government.

Notably, the Bloc’s MPs will not stand alone in their motion to withdraw confidence. In fact, no less than 20 other MPs are expected to side by them.

Either way, the government has a solid majority in House that would allow it to pass the vote with acceptable results.

The truth is that while many MPs share the Bloc’s frustration and position, most do not see a point in removing the government. Retiring the government will not help Jordan overcome the economic challenges at hand.

In fact, many MPs see it as futile; removing the government will result only in political destabilisation. At best, it would result in the replacement of one figurehead with another, but no change, whatsoever, in public and economic policy. Jordan’s committed to the programmes of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in vital to the world’s continues support for Jordan, in terms of funding and aid. The support of Jordan’s allies requires that Jordan commits to the supposed fiscal and economic reform programmes.

Meanwhile, shifts in policy require an encompassing convergence among the power-halls in Jordan. Something that so far seems farfetched.

Regardless, the fact remains that Jordan and the government are nearing an impasse, and the government has to revisit its approach before the situation gets out of hand. There is a confidence crisis unfolding. So far, it can be politically addressed. At some point, it will spiral out of control, if the government continues down its path.

Undoubtedly, decision centres in Jordan have at least a few ideas on how to tackle every possible scenario. The state is keeping a close eye on the domestic situation and the public’s response to the current ongoing, in balance with the state’s higher interests.

It is highly unlikely that the state gives the reform Bloc the chance to lead the change.

The worst case scenario is that the decision to replace and retire members of the government and cabinet will from the central-most power hall, not from Parliament.

This, IAF MPs understand very well. They are not dumb to miscalculate their first ever venture to withdraw confidence under the dome.

Parliament has the chance to force the government into committing to the House of Representatives’ recommendations, after the open price discussion.

As opposed to colliding with the government, forcing the government’s commitment would help contain much of the negative repercussions of the price hikes.

It would certainly ensure it does not happen again, that is to say the least.

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

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