Marwan Mouasher

The New Elections Bill and the 10-year Journey

تم نشره في Wed 2 March / Mar 2016. 01:00 AM

The Lower House of Parliament is expected to pass the new bill of elections today. By doing so, the bill will have been approved by both houses of Parliament. And despite of some flaws with the new legislation, it nevertheless represents —finally a success in terms of letting go of the “Single-Vote”; putting the Country on the long path towards a strong parliament and a redistribution of authority among the three main institutions.

Ten years ago, the political commission of the national agenda recommended the adoption of a hybrid electoral system away from the single-vote mechanism, and when they did, hell broke loose. Conservative powers successfully put all their resources available into bringing the whole agenda down, not only the suggested bill of elections.

That experience left its mark, as I witnessed how conservative characters worked on end to take down every effort towards reformation that touched on their own personal interests, or got anywhere near touching them. I saw how the interest of a country can be concluded to that of the individual.

Today, the State intends to take the first serious step towards political reformation. More so, I would say that some of the previous steps were mere attempts of beautification. On another note, it is still unclear as to “why” the State decided to turn away from the “Single-Vote”, and put all their weight into getting the new bill passed without making any fundamental changes or rearrangements; many movements and powers got confused on whether there really was a political, decisional will this time for reformation, or was it for other reasons still unknown to us.

That, however, does not matter. What matters is that the first step —burying the “Single-Vote”, has been made. And although there are many shortcomings, in my opinion, to this new bill; including the absence of national electoral lists and agendas, insufficient representation of women, the maintenance of closed circles for Bedouins, inadequate calculative measures for vote remnants, as well as the absence of prerequisite floors for making it into parliament… among other problems; I stand today supporting it, and it is not because it is ideal or perfect, but because it is indeed a first step in what I know now to be a long path, towards the modern, civil, inclusive, democratic state. After years of naivety, ten years ago, thinking that reformation from the inside is doable within a mere couple of years.

After ten years, those who stood against the “Single-Vote” law deserve to celebrate, be it discretely; because everything they called for and everything they were accused because of, is proven correct today. It is alright if the current powers in play step in with their justifications, and it does no harm were they to say “all in good time”, and that what was recklessness yesterday, today becomes a national interest.

Today is a new start, it is another station along the rails of the reformation battle that will definitely endure, but is driven by the new generation and may lead to a future our own generation could not provide for our society and our own children. Reformists will need decades before they can suspend the dominance of powers in play today. But I will allow myself today a smile.

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