Appointment, not election, of Amman Mayor, House majority decides

(Photo: Jordan News)
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A majority of Lower House members on Monday voted for keeping the selection of Amman mayor through appointment, by the Cabinet, against voices calling for the election of the official.اضافة اعلان

The debate came as the chamber was discussing the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) draft law after a joint committee made some changes to the version sent by the government.

the election of the mayor has been a demand by the opposition, especially Islamists, who have influence in the capital.

Islamist MP and veteran jurist, Saleh Al-Armouti, insisted the article providing for the appointment of GAM chief is not constitutional. In remarks to Jordan News after the session, he explained that the provision clashes with the principle of equality among Jordanians in the Constitution, when all mayors are elected while the residents of Amman do not have the right to elect their mayor.

Proponents of this opinion insisted that Amman is a special case and there is no need to change a decades-old norm. Deputy Prime Minister Tawfiq Krishan said that since the inception of the state, it has been a norm that the Mayor of Amman is appointed, not elected.

MP Ali Al-Tarawneh, head of the joint committee (legal and administrative) that studied and approved the bill, pointed that “the joint committee made a thorough study and went for extensive discussions with all stakeholders over the draft law, to make sure the public interest is well served.” Tarawneh added that “Amman is a very large city and contains 42 of the Jordan’s population, so that it needs a special type of service.”

Other lawmakers tried to lower the percentage of the GAM Council members appointed by the Cabinet from a third to 25 percent, but the suggestion was also voted down.

Many lawmakers also criticized the sixth article of the bill which indicated a provision that forbids candidates from being related, at the organizational level, to any non-Jordanian party. On that the Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Al- Maaytah commented that the article that has been in the law since the beginning, and “we (the ministry) do not have a statistic about the number of Jordanian people belonging to non-Jordanian parties. The agency concerned with this matter is the Independent Election Commission.”

The lawmakers also voted to keep the article as is.

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