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Mayors question ‘hasty’ decision to dissolve councils

municipal photo
The Ministry of Local Administration is preparing for August local elections (Photo: JNews)
AMMAN — The Cabinet on Wednesday dissolved local and municipal councils, in addition to the Greater Amman Municipality council.

The decision comes in preparation for elections, which according to the minister of local administration, are set for “late August or Early September”.اضافة اعلان

“This comes as a standard procedure before the elections; it is not meant to undermine local administrations. We had a bill in the Lower House, but we pulled it for further revisions. When the bill is ready, it will be submitted to the Lower House and will be treated with urgency” said Minister of Local Administration Tawfiq Kreishan.

The minister underlined that municipal councils have broad jurisdiction and authority. It is a civil entity, with financial, and administrative independence, he said. However, mayors agreed that “legislation is one thing and application is another.”

Acting heads of municipalities criticized the “hasty decision”, calling for further studies to eliminate obstacles facing local administrations.

“It is just ridiculous; we are celebrating our centennial and still we do not have clear legislation governing local administrations that facilitates investments in municipalities”, said Adel Janadbeh, Mayor of Theeban, near Madaba.

He added that while legislation gives municipalities and local councils a good margin of independence, in reality, most things are still centralized.

“Last year bureaucracy and inconsistency cost the municipalities 800 jobs. An investor decided to reduce his investments in the area to one factory instead of four which cost us these jobs. This is just frustrating,” said Janadbeh.

Abbas Maharmeh, head of Sahab Municipality described the first local and municipal elections four years ago as a “blurry experience”. “Some members of the local council still do not understand what their role is.”

Both Maharmeh and Janadbeh agreed that there is an urgent need to revise legislation, expand the authority of the councils and ensure true independence, allowing local councils to implement projects away from Amman’s administrative complications.

A municipal affairs expert who preferred to remain anonymous, told Jordan News that “the current experience is a failure, it does not reflect the essence of decentralization.”

He agreed that the decision to dissolve local councils was rushed. “The bill is still with the Cabinet, and once they are done with it, they will send it to the Lower House, who will study it through its committees and then vote on it; then the bill will go to the Senate, which will study and take a decision on it. All this must happen very quickly in order to give time to candidates to digest the legislation governing their candidacy.”