Coupon government

Salameh daraawi
Salameh Darawi (Photo: JNews)
The government’s latest trends on the topic of political reform and the institutionalization of the relationship with the legislative authority is to grant representatives “coupons”, so they can distribute them to those in need in their electoral districts.اضافة اعلان

Under the new political reform mechanism, which will be patented by Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh’s government, each deputy will receive 150 coupons, each valued at JD35.

What is happening is very strange and astounding; at a time when His Majesty King Abdullah calls for elevating political reform processes in the state’s institutions, calls that were evident in the Royal Discussion Papers and the Speech from the Throne, you find that the government acts in contradiction, bringing back to the start line of political backwardness, with an appeasement-based relationship with other authorities.

Who proposed that the government give representatives “Ramadan coupons” to distribute to those in need in their electoral districts?

It must have been a party seeking to harm this government and this parliament, trapping them in a hole that they cannot get out of. The hole, this time, is a deep hit to their credibility, as anyone who listens to the premier’s vote of confidence speech would believe that the government and the Lower House will be rivals racing to serve the public interest through positive engagement.

It seems that the government misunderstood the concept of partnership with representatives, as partnership does not mean deploying a policy of appeasement, but should mean having a constitutional approach to legislation and oversight that separates powers and enhances the required role of each entity separately.

I am not faulting the deputies for accepting this appeasement, which many observers might deem as falling under the umbrella of gifts, grants, or even bribes. It is a despicable act by all standards, on the part of both the government and the representatives.

The government undertook this irresponsible act, and the deputies accepted it. Both parties are fully aware that the biggest challenge facing the legislative authority is regaining its stature and standing in the Jordanian street, after years of a deteriorating image among citizens. Even among those who voted for them.

I can find no other explanation for the government’s behavior other than this being an intentional act to further deform deputies’ image in the eyes of the public and erode trust in the legislative body. The main duty of the Lower House is legislation and oversight of the executive body, not distributing coupons to those in need.

Is it possible that the state institutions concerned with social work and aiding the poor are incapable of reaching 285,000 families to provide aid, and are seeking the help of members of Parliament to do so?

The standard is that the government, represented by the Ministry of Social Development and its affiliated bodies, would undertake the distribution of aid through their executive instruments, aided by their database of underprivileged social segments. Instead, they seem to be exploiting the basic needs of the poor for electoral purposes, by putting them under the umbrella of the deputies.

This act by the coupon government with the representatives, and their alarming degree of involvement with each other, directly embody the appeasement system, and this time, at an institutional level. It flies in the face of all official justifications of rejecting MPs’ various requests. These range from appointment requests, promotions, transfers, and other forms of administrative corruption, and favoritism, leading to the loss of justice in the society.

Finally, it is evident that the coupons policy is synonymous with political reform under the administration of the minister of political affairs, who has held this portfolio since 2009. This will go on his extensive track record of developing the environment of political reform in the country, and inventing democratic tools that can only be found here. After his 12 years of managing the political reform file, this is what we get, so congratulations to the government and to the representatives on the Ramadan coupons, and happy Ramadan to all.

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