Reform: Shall we start?

Makram Tarawneh
Makram Al-Tarawneh
An unprecedented tranquility is prevailing in the political circles in Jordan, and everyone seems to be moving, silently, in a vicious cycle, dominated by anticipation and caution regarding many files. Perhaps the reason for this is the fear that reaction on their part may increase the levels of uncertainty in the public domain.اضافة اعلان

I am certain that it has never happened before that any official would hide behind closed doors, avoids appearances in public and refrains from engagement in public affairs. Meanwhile, politicians and observers are fishing for any tip that would help them understand what is going on. Nobody has any information about what is going on around us. All we know is that there are dozens of unanswered questions hanging in the air.

For a situation like this to persist in a country like Jordan is totally unhealthy, due to the difficult economic, health, and social situation, which is also affected by social media influencers, not to mention the quagmire of political reform.

Add to this that we do realize that there are countries and individuals who are jumping at every opportunity to tamper with the stability of this country, which has over the decades overcome a multiplicity of challenges and crises. We must believe that Jordan today is not the same as a few years ago. Some are trying to push it back. This is the ugly reality that cannot be beautified!

Where do we start? This is the question that the state must find an answer to as soon as possible. There is almost a consensus that the priority is for the political reform triangle, whose other two sides are the election, parties, and local administration laws. This is in conjunction with well-thought-out and feasible economic plans that are implemented in accordance with a fixed timeframe.

In 2011, His Majesty King Abdullah ordered conducting a national dialogue on the political and economic reform in the country, and as a result, intensive dialogues ensued with several political, social, and economic actors. Within that context, the Cabinet decided to form a National Dialogue Committee. This committee came out with recommendations that have not been taken seriously until this moment. And after 10 years we are still talking about an inclusive national dialogue on the same topic.

The Lower House has recently announced the launch of an inclusive national dialogue with civil society institutions to work out a draft of what the election and parties laws should look like, and how they can ensure the highest level of national consensus on what is required in the next phase.

The dialogue launched by the House was not the first, and it may not be the last, as we have become too familiar with the fact that every newcomer to office customarily cancels the plans of those who preceded him, and starts from scratch. They believe that their visions are the best, but why should we start from the starting line again. Several committees have been formed before and issued recommendations. Why not start from where others ended?

In order to move forward quickly with political reform — the perceived savior — it is necessary to look into the results of past discussions and the recommendations of the previous committees. We can benefit from some, or amend some, but it makes no sense to meet, after years of the National Dialogue, with the same people from trade unions and politicians to listen to the same views they presented 10 years ago.

The political will to carry out political reform is there, and the King has affirmed it on more than one occasion, as being doable. The King’s first Discussion Paper that he released in 2012 was titled “Our Journey to Forge our Path Towards Democracy.” It provided a comprehensive vision and all we need to decide is to determine when and how we start.  The state of confusion the country is living in is unhealthy and should not continue.

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