On the Independent Elections Commission's First Day

By: Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 10 April / Apr 2016. 10:59 PM
  • فهد الخيطان

The President and Commissioners of the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) are in an unenviable situation; for along the way to holding the parliamentary elections expected before the end of the current year, are many heavy, demanding and difficult tasks to be done.

The administrative and technical bodies need to be updated and upgraded to develop higher capacities and logistical capabilities, in order to meet the challenges of the coming stage.

Not to mention that the next elections will be conducted in accordance to an entirely new electoral law. The good thing about this is that the architect of the new system, Dr Khaled Kalaldeh, is the one heading the IEC. Still, the difficult challenge lies in the Commission faculties’ and bodies’ ability to adapt to the requirement of the new system, and the acquirement of necessary technical instruments to realise a practical, smooth framework.

The third challenge is in the retention of the IEC’s place as an independent and professional institution in the eyes of the electoral masses; to meet up to the integrity promised to be insured for the elections to produce credible, trustworthy results in order to restore faith in the system among electors and candidates.

Last but not least, the Commission has to face up to the challenge of explaining to the public the generalities, regulations, dynamics, and out-coming frameworks of the election legislation, and aggregate a vast popular consensus on, and in proximity to, the IEC’s vision, which would motivate the people to partake in the new elections; to elect and run.

The IEC has to, and quickly, establish an online electronic, modern platform to interact with the populace and include them in the facilitation of the electoral process, a step at the time; this would get people engaged in local communities, and women and youth sectors, and of course; political parties and associations, as well as the media, in order to convey the principles of transparency and instil these values among the public, whom have always been sceptic of the running dynamics behind closed doors.

Recently, a perception has been constructed —due to unprofessional behaviours, that the Commission is just another administrative device controlled by the Government. Contrarily, what is required of the next phase is, honestly; the reconstruction of the IEC’s status among the people as a real independent institution, representative of the electoral populace, their aspirations, and defendant of their constitutional right to run, monitor, and administrate parliamentary and municipal elections that produce popular representations, that see to the attainment of the State’s higher interests, and the vision of His Majesty’s for a parliamentary and political life that will lead through the path of comprehensive democratic transformation.

The reconstruction of the IEC’s image as it first was, is a difficult task, but not at all impossible. Kalaldeh’s team realises this challenge among other challenges, and surely they have a visualisation of what should be done in the months and weeks to come.

And in the midst of all the tasks awaiting the Commissioners’ attention, they must be mindful that the coming elections will witness, according to all estimations, the participation of all political powers and national initiatives, in a “democratic celebration” unlike the last two electoral rounds. This in turn, lays additional heavy weight on the IEC’s shoulders, and the responsibilities to secure the highest satisfaction rate possible for all the phases of the electoral process.

However, the success of the Independent Commission is bound by, and tightly, the collaboration of official authorities, to responsively interact with the new laws of the Commission and the Election legislation, and to facilitate necessary help in overcoming challenges expected by candidates as well as key components of the process.

Electoral competition in the next round will be tough and somewhat volatile; money will come in play and so will politics of different colours and dialects, as well as all the other components and seems of democratic celebration in our Country. And here comes the role of an independent, strong, steadfast authority in the implementation of the legislation that would protect the rights of the people for a clean, electoral match.