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October 21 2021 3:33 PM ˚

Panel approves 30 articles of local administration bill

Member and rapporteur of the joint committee, MP Saleh Al-Wukhian, told Jordan News that the name of the law has been changed to become "the municipalities and governorate councils law” instead of “th
Member and rapporteur of the joint committee, MP Saleh Al-Wukhian, told Jordan News that the name of the law has been changed to become "the municipalities and governorate councils law” instead of “the municipalities and decentralization law.” (Photo: Jordan News)
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AMMAN — The joint legal and administrative parliamentary committee continued its meetings discussing the 64 articles of the municipalities and decentralization, now called, ahead of forwarding the version to lawmakers for debate.اضافة اعلان

Member and rapporteur of the joint committee, MP Saleh Al-Wukhian, told Jordan News that the name of the law has been changed to become "the municipalities and governorate councils law” instead of “the municipalities and decentralization law.”

The lawmaker added that the committee’s discussions have become more specific and focused, noting that that their meetings with various local community representatives had ended.

"Now we have moved to the stage of discussing the law in light of what we have heard during the meetings with stakeholders. We have studied their opinions and are now discussing them to approve the articles of the law in the light of these opinions,” the representative said.

The deputy added that the panel would need two to four meetings to wrap up its job, noting that it was midway to completion, having approved 30 articles so far.

Wukhian explained that the most important feature of this draft law is to give the power of direct, secret ballot elections to the members of the governorate councils, in addition to giving the council the right to appoint another group comprising individuals already elected in other spheres like the chambers of industry and commerce, the farmers’ union and other elected bodies. Meanwhile, Wukhian said that 25 percent of all provincial council members will be women.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Administration Tawfiq Kreishan and Minister of State for Legal Affairs Mahmoud Kharabsheh.

For his part, Kreishan said that the law will enhance popular participation in decision making and implement the principle of decentralization by transferring some of the powers of the central government to the governorate councils.

Kharabsheh said that the proposed law defines the tasks and powers of the governorate council (partly elected directly), the executive council (a government body headed by the governor and comprising the top officials in the district to run daily affairs of the administrative unit), and the municipal council, also elected to administer the municipality. The governorate council forms the elected legislative body while the executive council forms the executive body. A municipal council is elected for every town within the same governorate.

Observers look at the decentralization experience as “successful on paper, failed on the ground”. Stakeholders started to call for amendments to the relevant legislation to remedy the situation. A 2019 academic research paper concluded that “as a result, Jordan's local administration essentially remains dependent on the local arms of centralized power.”

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