With house parties all over Jordan busy disturbing the peace, plus the latest female party animal and a group that’s keen on banning alcohol and running around telling people to put their clothes back on, the country this year is kind of like Mardi Gras, without the nudity and, you know, joy.
But let me backtrack a bit…
Raising the minimum number of required members to form a political party up to 500 (from 50) has been a last minute effort by the government to push/force parties to merge and thus establish parties with stronger political bases. One could argue that with so many members needed to form a party, many of the current ones are going to have to start focusing, if not determining, what their political platform is in the first place, simply as a form of common ground. One could also argue that this is last minute attempt to curb the power of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), aka the Islamist Party and/or the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Lower House of Parliament. As has been said over and over again by analysts from all over, the IAF is most likely to gain a major foothold in the next parliamentary elections scheduled later this year due to the rising Islamic powers in the region (Hizaballah, Hamas, Egypt’s MB, etc). This is an argument best depicted by Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj lately:
In my opinion it’s killing two birds with one stone. Moreover, a lot of people have been looking at this with such political theory that I can’t help but wonder if they’ve completely forgotten the Jordanian mindset and that you can’t really say “please” in this country and get a positive response. So I’m all for forcing them to merge, at least as a solution for the short run. (To be fair however, since the merging policy has come about in the past 4 years or so, the number of parties in the country have been cut down to almost half. The number now stands (roughly) at 35).
Also, as a Muslim I’m all for curbing the political power of the IAF or any organization that seeks to dictate morality (and foreign diplomacy) to a people. Especially if that party is more concerned with the ongoings of other countries than its own.
The minimum membership requirement is still new but the election clock is ticking so it was no surprise to see 6 centrist parties in the last two days decide to merge already.
Merging or uniting political parties can be argued from varying viewpoints and even most forward thinkers will look towards future implications. Will fewer political parties make a significant impact on the political arena in Jordan? Will this shift the state of mind towards political platforms and agendas rather than tribalism? Will it create competitive forces and the friction between the various parties usually required for parties to actually advance and grow? Will it curb the power of the Islamists?
Again, many of these questions depend on those varying viewpoints but the future remains unpredictable. In the short run I see it as a solid first step, one that should have been introduced awhile ago.
Also when I said earlier that the current number of parties is 35, it should be noted that as of last week the official number was 34. But yet another “Jordanian Nationalist” centrist party has become the latest political party to be given a license only a few days ago before the minimum requirement came out, thus taking the 35th spot. They have 120 members but what’s significant about this particular party is that it’s the first in Jordan’s history to be headed by a woman: Dr. Muna Hussein, who has a Phd in Chemistry. Dr. Muna has said her party will not be participating in this year’s election but that she would have no problem raising the membership to even 1,000 if she wanted.
Which makes me wonder if parties will just start getting their friends and relatives to register for the sake of requirements!
I am suggesting that we start a sencere debate about loyalties of the jordanian parties, The “IAF” has no loyality to jordan or its people, they are a part of hamas or vice versa, my suggestion is that they move their struggle to the west bank or gaza, I will be accused of being a racist, But I am not, the only thing that you can charge me with is that I love jordan more than some “JORDANIANS”.. What If the IAF control the government? I don’t want people telling me what to do or what my sister or wife should wear!! I have my own definition of islam, and they don’t have the right to enforce theirs on me..
Jordan interests must always be first, if not move to the country that you are more “LOYAL” to, Am i right??
Ya 3ammi min el akher bidna a7zab wa6aneyeh bedoon irtiba6at kharejeyeh
is that too much to ask for ? you are in JORDAN elected by JORDANIANS and in the JORDANIAN government if you are not concerned with Jordanian issues then you don’t belong and you are raping the democratic elections until you get strong enough to establish non-democratic-iran-egypt-style governments !!
Worse than iran and egypt governments.. at least those balshaneen b7alhom more or less !!
Some people want to customize democracy to fit their liking,the jordanian gov harbored the IAF since 1940.
there are many reasons for the strong foothold of the IAF in Jordan and most of them are not about their agenda. one of those reasons is the way the IAF is run, as you know they way they conduct their internal election is even close to being democratic. so, the faces change while their agenda items and loyalties stay the same. this makes the government very reluctant in making an honest attempt to institute a very good election and political parties laws i am not even sure if it can be done in the current situation. personally i don’t blame them and i would rather the current situation than seeing the IAF taking control because of they do they probably will the election law in its entirety and go back to the bi3a and shora systems.
You have overlooked an essential part of the law, the 10% representation in at least 5 cities in jordan. which means that every party should have at least 50% of its members outside Amman and divided equally on 5 different cities, a condition that does not aim for merging parties but rather hindering the political process.
Yes 500 member in jordan is a huge number to have in one party; of course many thanks here goes to the very human and democratic prcoedures the government has been doing since the 70’s more over the 50’s when the JCP alone had thousands of members secretly joining an unallowed party and whom paid and still pay regarding that years at jail, prevention from working in any agency with a value and the continous haressements on all levels. thats beside the other parties all jordanian were in, every one in jordan knows many older grandparents, uncles and aunts and family friends who were politically active yet does not know one single young jordanian even knows what’s the political situation we have in jordan, also Thank you goes to the same functioning government policy.
So basically we have a problem here, and the source of this problem is the undemoratic government policies that wants to shape a certain political spectrum in jordan through any mean it can use. Political parties still function since 50’s and 70’s are not in a place to show the government that they have a good background of political friends and supporters outside the party belive in the same principles and agenda yet unwilling to enroll in the party for several issues, merging with other parties seriously wont make it go.
Its just enough to know, that any active Youth organization with believes and political line that differs with the government policies does not get a license to function and that refusal is just justified through the several rights decision makers have.
The government was actually threatened last summer with 20 young girl and guy demanding a clean stand during the war on lebanon, those 20 jordanian youth brought considerable amount of police and intelligence forces and guys were actually follwed after the 20 person (imagine a 20) small demo ended.
When a government is worried about enriching political awarness and freedom; of course to produce more active political life it does not add more rules and laws to cripple the process. you want political interaction, yup open the process and enough with laws and regulations, otherwise add as many conditions and rules, produce the spectrum you want and dont call it a step toward democracy cause its simply not.
I can’t understand all this hubbub for 500 persons, is there a respectable party in the world with less than 500 members? Some parties said this step was undemocratic and anti-constitutional, I think it’s only a justification since they are not able to find people…
However, let say that this is a wrong law, will parties merge in bigger ones without this restriction? you said that six centrist parties that have the same ideology and political vision were forced to merge by the new law, so do we really think these new parties are able to gain popular consensus?
Personally, I see that IAF is the only party not affected by the new law!
The part of the law that you talked about touches the loyalty issue,
Rural area have no or little refugees, so the IAF lost the votes overthere..The law is to protect jordan not to make it an arm for hamas or iran..