September 26 2022 6:18 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

The Prime Ministry’s pending issue

Maher
Maher Abu Tair (Photo: JNews)
The government announced months ago that professional association elections were going to be held, even though they had previously been postponed for most associations under COVID-19 health restrictions. But the government later backtracked on its decision and refused to hold said elections or set a clear date for them.اضافة اعلان

This decision was made in parallel with the parliamentary elections, which were held at a time when COVID-19 case numbers had reached new peaks. Yet, the government did not back down on its decision to press forward with the elections, despite knowing that an absence of social distancing — during the event and following the announcement of its results — would lead to a  spike in cases, and we all remember the violations that came out of the elections.

Adding insult to injury, the government also announced a date for municipal elections, which will also lead to unsafe practices and violations, even though they were scheduled for August early on. August is months away and the government may be wagering on a larger number of vaccinated people and a drop in cases, which would bring about safer elections. However, the country’s experience with the latest parliamentary elections proves that going to the polls is first and foremost a political decision, rather than being one tied to the pandemic.

The only pending file is the professional association elections, which includes the small number of large associations. The call to push back the elections covers all professional associations, which is unreasonable and unacceptable because the conditions of associations generally require solutions as there are issues that need to be addressed by new councils.

The volume of complaints at many associations has reached its highest levels and if the government were to listen to the general assembly of any association, they would hear a lot that differs from what their councils have to say, given that these councils care little for the postponement of elections since they get to maintain their positions.

How can we be persuaded of pushing the association elections back when the government itself allowed for parliamentary elections that saw a large turnout and a hike in COVID cases; and even scheduled municipal elections? This is an unsound situation in every sense of the word, especially since association members would be the most committed to preventative and precautionary measures if the elections were to be held.

We are calling on the government to either announce the real reasons behind postponing the professional association elections or to announce a schedule as it has for municipal elections, cascading upwards from the smallest to the largest associations. Otherwise talks of political reform would be incomplete under circumstances that require the reform of associations and remaining institutions, including municipalities, decentralization councils, and up to the parliamentary election law and resulting amendments.