In commemoration of the world record that is about to be shattered. A record that will mark the “fingerprinting” over tens of repressive and unimpressive laws in less than 15 minutes.
One of the a few attempts to address the political picture in Jordan was recently presented here, but it does not hurt to re-emphasize the point: There is no need for (colorfully-named) conferences, a fifteen-volume “national” agenda, or a 25-year plan to reform the current inadequate (to say the least) political scene in Jordan. The logical first step can only be one of two options:
A system that installs a “questioning” procedure for the exclusive and absolute decision-maker. A human being is bound to make mistakes. Even if he is viewed as trustworthy, educated, intelligent, and wise, he is not divine.
A system that awards the throne its natural position as an honorary national symbol. It maintains its untouchable status as long as it is completely distant from the decision-making process.
The Question becomes: “Who is to be responsible for the observation (option one) or the replacement (option two) of the decision-making?
The Answer is naturally the people, and usually through their representatives. Of course, that is not meant to refer to the disgraceful current representation under its current format.
The systematic marginalization of the current parliament (regressive election laws, dilution through the increased number of seats, increased financial benefits, the elimination of opinionated influential members,..) rendered it as the typical puppet of an oppressive regime. It continues to pass law after law that goes against the people’s will and aspirations. The parliament failed in taking a single honorable stance in favor of the people it is supposed to represent, or to protect the slightest of their interests. On the contrary it appears to maintain a policy of sliding deeper in bed with the consecutive governments, making them both irrelevant components in the oppressive corrupt regime.
The Solution is in a new parliament arrangements and regulations that may require constitutional changes. (Remember that neither the constitution nor those who hastily scribbled it are divine. In fact the man who presided over its creation ended up in a mental asylum). The clichéd “modern election law” is definitely not coming out of this impotent parliament (it is only logical that this group is going to protect its current status by passing the regulations that will guarantee their re-election for future terms). With the absence of political parties (not changing any time soon), and with the domination of tribal, religious and even ethnic attachments and devotion among voters, the overhaul has to be deep-rooted and maybe “radical”.
The Suggestion (an attempt to avoid “destructive criticism” that does not present alternatives) is an election law that regulates the candidate. Since we cannot deny that the voter is inexperienced (oppressive regimes continue to use the “ignorance” of the voter as an excuse for denying the people their democratic rights, without presenting alternatives of how to “educate” the voter), the law can temporarily limit his/her options. This may seem extreme and against the people’s “rights and freedom” to elect whoever they want, but, as proven by the past 16 years, the voter cannot be fully trusted yet. Brief “limits” on his/her freedom could be more beneficial, on the long run, than the “unconstrained freedom” (using the term very loosely) that continues to produce disappointments.
A set of conditions (aside from age, nationality and sanity) could determine the candidate eligibility to run for a parliament seat. Some suggested highlights:
-The “old-guard” who have been enjoying a strangle hold on the country for a quarter century are ineligible. (Abdel-Audi/ Rifai’i and the gang), you had your chance (and your bank accounts), now please go away.
-Along the same lines, all previous prime ministers are ineligible. Your loyalty is not to the people, you too had your chance, and none of you made any significant contributions to the country.
-Notorious corruption figures, smugglers, arm dealers, “sharks”, robbers, and the regime parasites are ineligible. (Remember this is
-Former and current officials of the internal intelligence department and the secret services are ineligible; (you cannot torture people one day and represent them the next). Also, former and current high ranked Army officers; (beneficiaries of the regime and their loyalty is obviously not to the “man on the street”.)
-Tribe leaders who exist in a social structure more suitable for the middle-ages are ineligible. This is not a folkloric art exhibit that needs a historic figure in his traditional costume, there is an attempt to build a civil society here, and the people this sheikh was supposed to represent are better of being represented by someone else.
-A limit on the number of candidates (a percentage of the total seats) from the same political party. An “independent” candidate who is revealed (through his political program and agenda) to be affiliated with a party that is already exceeding the maximum number of candidates becomes ineligible. (The anti Islamic brotherhood domination rule).
-The suggested rules and restrictions, along with the procedure of its application are the responsibility of academia (it is about time that the numerous universities contribute to society). College professors and their research teams review, investigate, survey and suggest a set of regulations, that helps present the voter with the best candidate. The set of laws are reviewed after each election term until all candidacy restrictions are eventually lifted.
- As a more general rule, serving in the parliament is considered voluntary work and a public service. No salaries, allowances, cars or other privileges are to be associated with the parliament member position, especially those furnished by the government, since it causes a conflict of interest between the legislative and the executive branches. (The problem is if the position loses its privileged status,it is probable nobody would want to run anymore!
The effect of the true national representation that is selected outside of the traditional random (faz3a) procedure will expand the horizons of the voter outside of tribe and religion, and the success of such “controlled” representation will allow him/her to appreciate the effect of a strong committed parliament. Hence, by the shortly-to-follow next term elections, the population is more capable of distinguishing the worthy candidates.
Of course, this brings us back to the initial point. Even if the election process achieved the perfect results, it would remain insignificant as long as we won't dare to begin addressing the elephant in the room.