By Fahed Khitan

A New Parliament and ‘Salvation’ Government

Without a clear separation between reality and slogans, the movement in the street is meaningless. Any valuable aspiration for change must base on realistic assessments of the limitations and capacities for reform.

Otherwise, it’s pointless.

Jordanians have two main demands.

First, disband Parliament and conduct an early elections by yet another, new election law. And Second, form a National Salvation Government, to perhaps —maybe— fix what the current one broke or at least couldn’t fix.

In order for an early election to be conduction, according to a new law, the current House of Representatives must approve the law. Why? Because the constitution has revoked the executive authority’s capacity to enact temporary laws, with only a limited few exceptions, none of which imply for the elections law.

Noteworthy is the fact that none of the laws and decisions the government passed without the approval of Parliament is constitutional.

However, if we were —for argument’s sake, agree that we in fact do need a new election law, then we must launch a national dialogue to secure political consensus for it. Then the law must go through the House, who knows that the most the law is ratified, they are disbanded.

A process of such magnitude cannot be done in under a year, at best. Assuming of course the MPs will approve a legislation that ends their terms under the Dome.

The moment parliament is dissolved, so is the government, according to the constitution.

Until the next election takes place, in no more than four months’ time, a temporary government will be formed.

Afterwards, when the MPs are elected, they can then have a say in the formation of maybe a new government.

That said, where does the National Salvation Government fall into all that? Is it the transitional government that is supposed to salvage whatever is left? Or is it the next one, approved by parliament?

For the same of this argument, assume the interim government happens to be the national salvation government. It should then carry through the elections and move to vote on confidence.

Now who is to be sure the salvation government will be voted in? What guarantees does this government have, that the House will not land the first blow and vote the government out, just to restore public acceptance?

More importantly, the whole ‘salvation’ thing is just another slogan, so long as the two main determinants of it are lacking.

First, the government should have a composite, engulfing agenda to snatch the country out of its deepening hole. A programmatic proposal with a timeline that is doable and deliverables that are measurable. This agenda should tackle debt, deficit, unemployment, poverty and countering corruption, possibly all at the same time. Those are the slogans and demands of the people.

Such an agenda should be put up for discussion and evaluation starting today, so that it lands a place in the national dialogue, to construct national consensus over its main objectives, KPIs and deliverables.

The second determinant is that proponents of the salvation government propose a Cabinet team with the qualification and ability to realise the goals of the agenda.

That said, who says the street will present names and candidates any better than those we have in office now?

In my opinion, institutionalising the ongoing discussion and outlining the difference between dreams and reality requires a clearer outlining of the demands.

The agenda should also cover all its basis; it should present a different approach, entirely, as well as nominate people who can actually carry out the agenda.

Once those two determinant factors are addressed, the upcoming elections, early or otherwise, would surely take a different political trajectory.

However, continuing to charge people with emotion and launching slogans without realistic aspirations will only make it worse. At best, it will not deliver a new parliament or a new government. Let alone bring about national salvation.

If anything, this only drains national energy to no viable end, whatsoever.

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

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