Jamil Nimri

A Call to Rejoice

تم نشره في Thu 25 February / Feb 2016. 08:24 PM

Now we have one of the best and most modern election laws, in spite of some flaws within its fine detail. This legislation is more progressive than any other proposition the political, social, and parliamentary powers —put together, could ever come up with, if it were up to them.

Some exclaimed at my enthusiasm and openness to embrace the new voting law when the Government proposed it, followed by the strong campaign I led against passing it as proposed by Government during its discussion in the parliamentary legislative committee, as well as under the dome. But whoever kept in tune with the details, would understand.

This legislation, in terms of its general framework and voting dynamic, is the most forward option, and the most suitable for our reality in Jordan. It should have been supported, welcomed, and backed against the campaign to oppose it, which was regressive at heart. Accordingly, I was very pleased when I saw parliament welcoming it initially. But afterwards, when we slipped into fixing the details to optimise the legislation, thinking it was easy and simple, I slowly uncovered there to be strong resistance to any change, despite the proposal of this legislation itself seeming like a step towards openness and enlightenment; old authoritarian ways do not die, apparently, and they do not seem to like their choices being reviewed or changed.

Even though there was little hope, I still could not dismiss my duty to seek important amendments that were —in my opinion, necessary for the progress of political and representational life in Jordan, and at the same time, did not constitute a threat or an uncalculated adventure, but still shortened a part of the reformation journey.

Now attempting something of the sort in parliament is worse than directly trying to communicate it to government. And it is worse than it would have been were it done on a narrower scale, like the legislative committee, for example; because no one listens to me, and the best ideas are simply dropped at vote.

Before writing this article, I was going through some old emails during the national forum of 2011, and I was surprised of having written detailed propositions and alternatives with practical examples that instanced and addressed problematic situations and implications. More so, that I was then discoursing with respective officials in such regards, in such a way that resembles the way I am addressing events today, including the reallocation of electoral areas and circles.

I had proposed, back then, an electoral circle for every governorate, save for Amman, Zarqa, and Irbid —for which I suggested four, two, and another two for both Zarqa and Irbid, respectively. Only I was met with insistence on four circles for Irbid.

Therefore, we have to positively consider the givens of the situation. What happened means that we have to agree to half-solutions and let the coming experiment speak for itself of the massive qualitative turn it really is. For we have departed the “Single-Vote” system, and expanded electoral circles. Despite individual seats for smaller circles seemingly are indispensable, we have developed a rational-lists-system that is unfamiliar to the general demographic, as well as to —until recently, the political elite.

Principally, the new election legislation stirred widely a political and cultural movement, by bringing to the table political concepts of “electing” that were never considered before. And this friction will deepen as voting day approaches; total differentiations will surge between the discourses of candidates and those of electors as well as political, societal, and tribal forces regarding elections. This will —accordingly reflect on the socio-political environment, among other factors, mainly the municipal and decentralisation laws, and their very own elections.

We may not have gotten the cake, but it is not so bad having gotten half of it; particularly that it “is” a cake —in light of the dominant regional situation, not an explosive barrel or a booby trap.