Jordanians’ trust in gov’t, democratic reform waning — CSS

downtown amman
People walk on a street in downtown Amman on April 12, 2021. (Photo: Amjad Taweel/ Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) at the University of Jordan published on Sunday the results of a poll showing a decline in trust towards the current cabinet, as well as general distrust in democracy and political reform. اضافة اعلان

CSS found that Jordanians’ confidence in the government has “drastically” declined 200 days after its formation. Over half (57 percent) of Jordanians indicated that they do not trust the government, showing a 9 percent increase in comparison to when the government first assumed its responsibilities.

Only 42 percent of Jordanians believed that the government was able to fulfill the responsibilities pending from the previous government, mainly the COVID-19 pandemic, a decrease from 53 percent who believed that when the government was initially formed.

In 200 days, Jordanians’ confidence in Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh’s ability to attend to his responsibilities decreased from 56 percent when was first assigned to 42 percent. The confidence in the ministerial cabinet to fulfill their responsibilities decreased from 53 percent to 39 percent.

Zaid Eyadat, the Director of CSS, told Jordan News that “We are doing our part when we point out the government’s faults, and it’s up to them to take it or leave it.”

“Khasawneh’s cabinet does not respond as effectively as the previous cabinets. We have nothing more to do but to knock on their house’s doors to get a response,” he said.

The research also identified trends and problems that go beyond Khasawneh’s government. Only half of Jordanian citizens rejected the idea that "our cultural structure does not fit democracy and Jordanians are not qualified for democracy." The other half agreed that the continuation of the social and tribal structure unchanged is blocking the transformation process towards a democracy in Jordan.

Half of Jordanians reported that they have no confidence in the government's seriousness towards working on new laws governing political life.

Jordanian citizens’ trust in the Kingdom’s institutions has steadily declined since Khasawneh first formed his cabinet, according to the report. The majority of Jordanians trust the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army, the Public Security Directorate, and the General Intelligence Department, instead of governmental institutions.

According to the poll, the overwhelming majority (94 percent) of Jordanians believe that the economy and administrative bodies are “infested with corruption”, and 82 percent of citizens believe that the government is not serious nor willing to fight corruption.

Accordingly, 50 percent of the population believe that ministers and senior state officials are most likely to contribute to the spread of corruption, and 23 percent believe businessmen and bigger merchants are the second top accomplices to the spread of corruption.

Regarding the criteria for hiring senior state officials, Jordanians believe that personal connections, kinship, tribal affiliation, and “loyalty to the policies of the government” are the most decisive factors guaranteeing a higher position in the public sector. Only 17 percent believe that senior state jobs are given based on a person’s qualifications and efficiency.

CSS has described the process of political reform as “walking on water.” The center found that 50 percent of respondents believe that serious political reform will never become a reality in Jordan.

The vast majority of Jordanians (80 percent) believed that political reform must be carried out in a phased, gradual step-by-step manner. Alternatively, 31 percent believed that a profound, one-time political reform solution is the only way to change the Kingdom for the better.

Whereas 40 percent believe that the government is unable to draft a new election law for the Lower House, 48 percent of Jordanians believe that the government is unable to draft a new election law for local councils, and 38 percent believe that the government is unable to draft a new law for syndicates.

Regarding equality and justice in the Jordanian society, the majority of Jordanians believe that equal rights and duties are not applicable among Jordanians. Over half (56 percent) of Jordanians believe that there is no discrimination among Jordanians on the basis of religion.

In addition, the public poll identified a growing lack of trust among Jordanians themselves.

This means that Jordanians and people living in Jordan do not trust each other, which is a “dangerous indicator of the stability of society and an obstacle in achieving economic growth and political reformation,” the CSS director said in a press conference.

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