Pundits divided on delay of syndicate elections

Engineers Association (old)wefwef
Members of the engineers association vote in a previous syndicate elections (Photo: JNews)
AMMAN — Despite holding parliamentary elections at the end of last year and setting a date for municipal and local elections in August of this year, the government is yet to allow elections for professional syndicates, after decisions to postpone them as a measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.اضافة اعلان

The open postponement of associations’ elections is drawing mixed reactions.

Chief of the Association of Agricultural Engineers Abdulhadi Falahat told Jordan News on Tuesday that the syndicate has demanded from Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh about a month ago to allow them to conduct their elections, noting that they are “legally entitled” to do so.

The association requested an urgent exception of defense order (16), which prevents gatherings that exceed twenty people, to allow all 5,720 members of the association to conduct the elections, while abiding by physical distancing, wearing face masks, and avoiding shaking hands, according to Falahat.

“We had an agreement with the prime minister two months ago to conduct the elections. Also, the pandemic is currently receding. So why wait?” Falahat told Jordan News.

The syndicate chief said that the minister has promised him that elections will be permitted for associations with a small number of members in April, while those of medium-sized associations would be allowed in June or July, and the polls of the largest syndicates would be left till the end of the year.

“We need to conduct the elections as soon as possible. It’s our priority now,” he added.

Legal expert Haytham Ereifej agreed with Falahat.

“The government allowed parliamentary and municipal elections. The double-standard measures adopted by the government are not logical,” Ereifej told Jordan News.

On the other hand, Mohammed Rasoul Tarawneh, vice chairman of the Committee for Exercising Powers of the Physicians Syndicate, supports the delaying of the elections.

“Syndicate elections are not counting votes in a box, like the parliament’s elections for example. They consist of large gatherings that involve discussions of more than 5,000 members,” he said.

“Those who support conducting the elections apparently have no clue how the elections are actually being held,” Tarawneh went on. 

Khalid Al-Rababah, president of the Nurses Association, opposes holding elections in the current conditions as well, as well as “every form of gathering.”

“We’re still facing the consequences of the parliamentary elections today. I believe all associations are functioning just fine with or without the elections. I’m a member of the epidemiological committee and gatherings are 100 percent unacceptable,” he told to Jordan News.

Seven professional associations had their elections delayed by the government’s measures last year due to COVID-19, including the associations of lawyers, pharmacists, doctors, journalists, geologists, artists, and veterinarians.

In 2021, four other associations had their polls postponed; the associations of engineers, agricultural engineers, nurses, and contractors. The decision was followed by one pushing back the vote of the Jordanian Writers Association.

Independent Election Commission President Khaled Al-Kalaldeh said that the new date for the elections of associations “will be determined later.”