MPs spar over districts, lists, quotas in election draft law

The Lower House of Parliament, presided by Speaker Abdel Karim Al-Doghmi. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Lower House of Parliament, presided by Speaker Abdel Karim Al-Doghmi, on Monday held a heated debate of the draft election law, which was approved by the Legal Committee at the end of last week, after nearly two months of discussions by its members.اضافة اعلان

At the heart of discussions was the issue of a proposed gradual shift, over a number of election cycles, toward a Lower House controlled by a bloc formed by political parties rather than individual MPs, and whether the number of electoral districts across the Kingdom should be reduced.

Representative Saleh Al-Armouti insisted that the draft election law include one national list, saying that “political parties are oppressed and will not have a share in the political life”.

He added that the system of districts and their distribution must be an integral part of the law.

Representative Majid Al-Rawashdeh tackled the issue of fairness of the law, saying that the population of some governorates is twice as large as that of other governorates, yet they are awarded the same number of seats.  

Rawashdeh wondered whether the intention is to move toward national lists then keep quotas for Christians, Circassians, women, and others, stressing that this violates the Constitution, which affirms that Jordanians are equal before the law.

On the other hand, MP Amghair Al-Hamlan Al-Daajah said that the proposed draft electoral law is unfair to some societal components, especially in the capital, Amman, adding that reducing the number of districts in the capital Amman means merging some, which will lead to depriving certain groups of representation under the Dome.

Deputy Firas Al-Sawair Al-Ajarmeh urged his colleagues to be careful about approving the articles of the draft election law, saying that this law will draw the political map for Jordan for the next three electoral sessions.

Sawair said that “there are dangerous articles in this law”, and asked “how can we vote for the capital, Amman, to have three districts, without approving a system for allocating these districts”.

“The law in the third electoral cycle gives 65 percent of the Lower House seats to political parties, and I ask how will these seats be taken from local constituencies? Do we accept that Central Badia, for example, be left with one deputy? The district system in the draft must be approved before the law is passed,” he said.

He asked the deputies to put the interest of the nation above everything and ensure that the suggested redrawing of districts “does not tamper with our national constants and our Jordanian identity, which we have preserved throughout the past 100 years of life as a state.”

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