After months of discussions and debates, the parliamentary election season is finally upon us, and it exposes numerous flaws and weaknesses. Jordanians spent the better part of 2012 arguing about the best elections law for the country. In the aftermath of the Jordanian Arab Spring, many wanted an elections law that can usher in a new, more robust, representative parliamentary government. From the look of things, the 17th Parliament of Jordan will most likely resemble the 16th or the ones before it. A study conducted by Radio Al Balad’s parliamentary reporter Hamzeh Sou’d and investigative journalist Musab Rawashdeh showed that 139 candidates to the 17th Lower House served in earlier parliaments. Of the repeat MPs, 68 served in the 16th Parliament.
Among those former MPs from the 16th sessions 55 will be running on local lists while 13 are competing on nationwide lists. From the 15th Parliament 42 MPs are competing this time and 17 MPs from the 14th Parliament are running in this year’s elections. Seven from the 13th Parliament also decided to run this time. Among women candidates, 17 former MPs decided to participate in the upcoming elections.
The presence of so many repeat MPs is a worrying sign to many, because it takes away from the promise of reform or renewal. Many Jordanians, especially the young ones, were hoping to see change in the makeup of the 1st Parliament after two years of protests.
Jordanian protesters as well as the various groups that have called for a boycott of the elections have noted that the elections law will not bring any change to a system that strongly favours electing tribal chiefs rather than national political leaders.
Full Article: Jordan’s election season exposes flaws.