By Jumana Ghunaimat

Reintroducing Programmatic Agendas: MPs Take Initiative

The relaunch of the Parliamentary Initiative only reaffirms that the idea is still alive and that it is applicable, so long as it is based on principles and programmatic proposals, something we are missing a lot in times of late.

The absence of agendas and programmatic solutions is not exclusive to the current parliamentary blocs. Most of our parties, public sector bodies and government bodies also lack programmatic agendas.

This, however, is what makes Dr Mustafa Hamarneh’s initiative, which he launched back when he was a member of Parliament, so distinct. His initiative was an exemplary model for government-parliament engagement, and it only proves that programmatic parliamentary work is indeed effective.

Whether or not we see eye to eye on the programme itself, what we do agree on is the fact that programmatic work is crucial for progress and recovery.

One example on programmatic agendas is the Children of Jordanian Women Residency and Identification Solution. Another is the plans laid to address the issues of the service sector. Primarily the transportation and education sectors.

A couple of days ago, MP Wafaa Abu Mustafa held a press conference announcing the proposal of the parliamentary initiative she is heading. During the conference, she highlighted that the team of MPs and experts will work together to converge their views and advance a composite approach to addressing a variety of issues. Also, she underlined that the initiative will feature a programmatic timeline entailing measurable, applicable goals and indices.

Once again, the MPs take initiative.

This time, it will address the elections law, to propose a political envisagement of a general elections law that shrinks the size of the House of Representatives and focuses on political, legislative and monetary performance. The proposal, Abu Mustafa hopes, will encourage parties to enter alliances and coalitions that are obligatory, all the way to a programmatic parliament that works collectively towards resolving issues.

Notably, this was the very basis of the Parliamentary Initiative’s establishment years ago. Its very essence and soul.

The initiative focuses on the issues hurdling Jordan’s strive to arrive at the Rule of Law and state institutions based on a sound state-citizen relationship. One that respects rights as much as it presses on dues and duties.

To attain Institutionalism, the Initiative proposes a number of progressive ideas on some issues, including revisiting the crimes prevention law. This would put an end to excessive authoritarianism by some of the administrative rules and governors in various parts of the Kingdom.

For example, the Initiative proposes addressing administrative detention and house arrest. Those are only two issues among many that comprise an outright violation of rights and judicial authority.

Likewise, the initiative stresses on the vitality of respecting the public’s right of expression and opinion, within the boundaries of legislation. It also turns to restraining other violations against human rights, such as those allowed by the electronic crimes law, to prevent exploitation of these laws.

The initiative also looks to follow up on the question of the Children of Jordanian Women’s rights.

On economics, the initiative has also a few ideas to address the economic crisis and advance reforms at such a critical phase.

The presence of Dr Hamarneh and his 14 colleagues founds the nucleus of a collective programmatic effort that could lead to actual, tangible results.

It could even compensate for the lack of programmatic agendas in government as well as in Parliament.

Meanwhile, this initiative could encourage many other parliamentary initiatives presented by other parliamentary blocs.

In fact, this could be the gateway to developing parliamentary work, which has long lost the will and programmatic tools to facilitate change.

Basing the role of the Parliament on programmatic agendas would dramatically empower the parliament, as monetary and legislative authority.

It could also reshape the parliament’s relationship with the government. Giving birth to an effective and health dynamic, which is otherwise key to progress.

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

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