Legislative session adjourns early after blackout allegations

Lower House
Members of Parliament in the Lower House vote on Monday. The session was adjourned after an MP made allegations involving the recent nationwide blackout. (Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — A “routine session” turned heated on Monday as an MP lodged allegations regarding the recent blackout that hit the Kingdom.

MP Nidal Al-Hayari said that today’s session was meant to complete discussions on the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing bill, which started in April; however, “the intervention of the representative Osama Al-Ajarmah, and what happened between him and the other MPs disrupted these discussions.”اضافة اعلان

After the Parliamentary session, the House’s Energy Committee held a session with Minister of Energy Hala Zawati to discuss the Friday power outage, which has been the center of public debate and controversy.

Lawmaker Zaid Al-Otoum, head of the Energy Committee, told Jordan News that the “committee will rely in its discussion on reports and facts from experts, technicians, and specialists, to determine the repercussions of this outage.”

Otoum added that the committee will study Jordan’s energy strategy and will work on finding and developing solutions and procedures to prevent such occurrences in the future. The MP added: “We will present a full report supported by the experts and technical opinions about what happened, and mechanisms to prevent it in the future.”

During the session, Zawati blamed the blackout on “technicalities”. She added that a problem occurred with the power cable that connects Egypt’s electrical grid with Jordan’s.

 “What had happened is an electrical phenomenon that led, according to the initial analysis, to a decision to disconnect the station,” Zawati said. “The blackout was caused by a technical fault that led to an electrical fluctuation in the Jordanian-Egyptian link line, so the decision was taken to cut it (the power) off.”

Zawati highlighted a phone conversation with her Egyptian counterpart, where they denied having made any official statements about the blackout.

Amjad Rawashdeh, the general manager of the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), downplayed the incident in remarks to Jordan News. “Such phenomena are very natural, which may occur anywhere, and many other countries face such issues,” he said.

During the session, MP Osamah Al-Ajarmah claimed that the power outage was planned in order to prevent the solidarity marches of the tribes, which were called to support Palestine.

The speaker of the Lower House adjourned the session shortly after due to Ajarmah’s comments.

According to Emad Odwan, a parliamentary memorandum was signed by more than 20 deputies to refer Ajarmah to the House’s Conduct Committee for his behavior under the Dome. Odwan said that Ajarmah told him “the insults were unintentional”. 

Khalil Atyeh told Jordan News that MP Ajarmah apologized to the representatives, and added that he will issue an apology.

The lawmakers’ efforts to discuss the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing bill were interrupted and overshadowed by the discussion of the Friday blackout. 

MP Omar Al-Ayasrah told Jordan News that the “most notable part of the legislative discussion was about suggestions to scrap the term ‘weapons of mass destruction’ mentioned in the bill.” 

Ayasrah added that “these suggestions are important because Jordan is not concerned with this issue, also it is none of our interest to start a hostility with any other country.”

Over the past legislative period, the committee has held meetings with legal experts and stakeholders who provided input. Lawmakers are set to continue discussions on Wednesday. The session was headed by Lower House Speaker Abd Monem Oudat.

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