Committee findings not enough guarantees for reform, Rifai

1. Rifai
Senator Samir Al-Rifai, former prime minister and head of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Former prime minister and head of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System, Senator Samir Al-Rifai, described the Royal committee’s outcomes as a “roadmap” and the outcomes alone are not guarantees for the aspired political reforms, but require, in parallel, enhanced freedoms, rule of law, pluralism and patriotism.اضافة اعلان

Speaking at a meeting with members of the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, Rifai said that the constitutional amendments of 2005 and 2011 as well as the recommendations of the Royal committee are part of a Jordanian reform program, not stipulated by pressure, but driven by a true desire by His Majesty King Abdullah to empower Jordanian citizens to become players in the decision making process. 

“All Jordanian citizens are equal, and nobody is superior to others,” said Rifai on the controversy that followed the term “a collective Jordanian identity” as stated in the policy paper, adding that a Jordanian identity “brings people together, rather than divides them”.

He pointed out that, since 2000, King Abdullah has repeatedly expressed his desire for political reforms and modernization, and more so since the Arab Spring, adding that the committee’s findings will be the subject of King Abdullah’s focus to ensure that a conducive environment is in place for the proposed amendments.  “The political will is always present, but we place the burden of our personal desires to not go ahead with reforms on the state,” he noted.

He voiced hope that no major changes or amendments would take place on the committee’s recommendations, noting that the King has guaranteed those outcomes with the government as well as with the Senate, “but as for the Lower House, it is an independent entity”.

On the envisaged role of youth in political life, Rifai said “they must be inspired to have their voices heard,” assuring that the committee’s findings have proven that this group of society have great hopes in the committee’s work.  An opinion poll found that youth aged 18–24 years old have 66 percent confidence in the committee.

Rifai said political parties must be popular, not populist, must demonstrate patriotism and have measurable programs that serve the collective interests of the nation, away from affiliations.

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