What do reformists in Jordan have in common?

Fahad Khitan (Photo: JNews)
Those who are demanding reform and asking for dialogue with the government and the state institutions must first talk amongst themselves and they will realize how wide the rifts among them are.اضافة اعلان

Reformists hail from a plethora of political parties and represent different ideologies and political alliances, including Islamists, leftists and liberals, among others, who have more differences with each other than they do with the establishment.

These differences are not limited to the parties’ opinions on legislation and political reforms, such as those pertaining to elections, political parties, decentralization and cybercrime; because while those are important, they could potentially be agreed upon and versions of these laws could be drafted to appease the parties involved.

However, what really matters is their stances on pivotal issues and principles tied to greater motifs like patriotism, personal freedoms, the required economic approach and other matters related to national identity.

If we were to start dialogue about such principles between the Islamists and Leftists, for example, or between the liberals and Hirak members; we would find that major differences and gaps cannot be bridged and require extended, and thorough discussions.

The position that liberals have on personal freedoms is drastically different than that of Islamists and the nationalists among Hirak movement and they present different visions of the economic approach needed to address the situation. While many believe that the correct path is an economy managed and steered by the public sector, liberals believe that a free market economy is the way towards prosperity and progress.

An issue like gender equality is highly contentious among various political groups and we have seen a major example of this in the former Lower House’s discussions when the chamber debated amendments to the Personal Status Law.

The problem of reform in Jordan has resulted from the absence of cultural and social structures that could fulfill the requirements of democratic transformation in its various social dimensions. These structures differ in nature more than the major structural transformations witnessed in other societies.

MP Omar Ayasra was right when he said in an interview it is very difficult to have a political life based on partisan action due to the presence of a structure that rejects engagement with other political affiliations.

In Jordan, political powers and the state institutions are part of the culture of a broad segment of the population and not that of an elitist nature adopted by the segment that is ruling the people. The state and society have not yet, after 100 years, managed to clearly define the relation between them; I do not mean legally, but more with regard to roles and mutual interests.

Practically, governments have engaged in dialogue with parties to put out feelers regarding the proposed amendments to the Election Law. The ideas and proposals that we have heard before we will hear again and we will reach a consensus that reflects the current balance of power and interests.

Deep-rooted reform requires dialogue of another kind regarding key issues, one between the representatives of social powers, regardless of the course of dialogue with the government.