Can we hope?

تم نشره في Wed 27 August / Aug 2014. 10:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Wed 27 August / Aug 2014. 10:01 AM

By Fahed Khitan

Are we to expect — after the adoption of the constitutional amendments regarding the powers of the king in the appointment of the commander of the army and the intelligence director — the birth of a modern and democratic election law, that leaves the one man, one vote system in its fragmented formula?

Our expectations here are reasonable; the political reason behind the constitutional amendments is to protect the institutions of the state and military security of the political pressure formed by the governments of partisan and parliamentary majority; we are about to enter a new political era, in which the state scrambled to hedge the repercussions of by early constitutional amendment.

In order to for such a policy or reform plan to acquire the much needed credibility, the legislative priorities need to be revised so that the election law is on the agenda of the next regular session of the parliament.

The success of any new parliamentary government formed according to international standards requires creating a political and partisan environment for two years before its time at least. No state can ask the social and political forces and parties to adapt to a new election law a month after its ratification. There is a need for a transitional period during which these forces prepare to compete according to the new rules the game.

If the government does not do so, the constitutional amendments will look like a step in its own merit, and not an objective requirement for the political reform process as stated in its justification.

 

The stances for and against the new election law seem like a puzzle; if you ask the government about it, it says the law is ready in the government’s drawers, but the Lower House has pushed strongly to postpone it and so did the government. Sources at the Lower House denies this, and accuses the government of stalling. Behind the scenes, there are talks about a difference of opinion about the electoral system, a formula developed by an official joint committee, which brought together ministers and officials in the security agencies

What is true in all of this? We do not know, and we fear that we remain caught in a vicious circle to the last moment.

It is not useful at all to stay like this. The state has embarked on sudden moves recently, and questions about its justification exist. If the government is serious about its cited justifications, it must match their rhetoric with deeds.

We should maintain the same logic in the adoption of the reform laws; political parties, municipalities, decentralization, and the election law, all in one parliamentary cycle, but not postpone the elections law to the end of next year, as is currently scheduled.

The Lower House has developed a mechanism to discuss and approve legislation that may shorten the time and effort, and give way to maximize achievement as quickly as required. According to this mechanism, four bills can be finished within one month.

Will is an important factor; when the state institutions, both executive and legislative, agreed on the need to complete the recent constitutional amendments quickly, and give them a sense of urgency, it did, and approved the amendments in less than a week.

Both the legislative and executive branches of the government need to be keen on showing the will to change, and many people are hoping to hear the same sentence spoken on the constitutional amendments repeated about the election law.

@fahed_khitan

 

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.

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