A Great Disappointment in Parliament

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Tue 6 February / Feb 2018. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 6 February / Feb 2018. 10:02 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Despite having elected the Representatives themselves, according to a new election law, one that resolves many of the issues of the previous Single-Vote and Virtual Circuits laws, the public’s perception of the House remains unchanged.

Public opinion surveys indicate the people’s opinion of the House remains negative despite there being no documented scandals or doubts into the integrity of the elections.

There is no doubt that the current election law has indeed restored prestige to the multi-vote system and the governorate-circuit. Not to mention introducing proportionalism to Parliament.

This has immensely helped the actualisation of more equitable representation, with minimum vote waste.

Meanwhile, it has helped the Islamic Action Front (IAF) restore its place in parliament and has allowed for opposition to stage a footing under the Dome.

Overall, we expected better of the current House.

In fact, we expected the performance of the House to be far more versatile and communicative of the public opinion and concern, to restore balance.

The least we expected is that the House would be able to bring the political dynamic back to life, build political momentum and reinforce the political game and its institutions.

Sadly, this is not how it turned out to be.

All optimism that the restoration of opposition under the Dome, with the new law, is gone.

We’ve reached rock bottom today. A House shrouded in myopia, unable to interact with public policy. It is beyond just tax exemptions, or bread and electricity. It is more about their inability to engage positively and actively in policy-making.

That said, the House session on the recent price hikes was a yet another dramatized failure. Both embarrassing and hilarious, it depicts a dim image of the Jordanians’ culture and intellect.

MPs starting off with verses from the Quran, entirely unrelated to the matters at hand, rhyming poetry, ridiculing the government, and others shouting and screaming.

Meanwhile, IAF MPs hand in a motion to withdraw confidence in the government, knowing well that it will not pass. The majority of the House do not agree with it. Eventually, this motion will lead to granting the government confidence, again.

It is as sad as it is trivial, maybe, the parliamentary state of affairs has become.

Day after day, I run into citizens demanding I write an article calling for the suspension of parliament altogether, to save its costs and expenditures for Jordanian taxpayers.

That said, it is more crucial today than ever that we revisit the central-most questions and fundamental issues of our political sphere.

Is it that the Election Law is insufficient in terms of developing the House dynamics? Does it fall short from its objectives? How can we enhance the law?

Some say we must restore the Nation Circuit (the National list), which was revoked earlier. They see it as a gateway to reinforcing national identity and empowering party dynamics and agendas.

Personally, I stand against the annulment of the national list. I am all for its development.

However, the outcomes of the List, before, were no better than the current state of the House. The list did not build on national agendas.

Others see that the problem is that we have individual candidates running for seats in Parliament. Those demand that Parliament be exclusive to parties and political entities, representing agendas.

This is a solid proposition, even though it requires thorough support and review. But others would argue that the party state has not matured yet, at least not adequately. Parties, they argue, are unable to present real agendas, let alone attract constituents. Most parties are still stuck in ideology, beyond the reach of reality and citizens.

On the other hand, there are those who claim the current proportinalist system in place is in fact to blame for the outcomes of Parliament. They say propotionalism does not work in Jordan, and that it is too advanced to even consider given the current state of society. They propose that this particular aspect of the new election law is why the outcomes of parliament are so deformed, despite the equitability of the law.

Those argue that it is crucial that we do not overstep, in terms of election laws.

Meanwhile, there are those who see Jordanians are now unable to reproduce the 1989 parliamentary phenomenon, for instance.

All these proposals and suggestions place us before a number of fundamental and essential inquiries that we need to address, after such a great disappointment.

We must revisit the election law.

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