Jordan’s Parliamentary Elections Delayed, Nasser Lawzi To Be Next Prime Minister

Ammon and Khaberni are already reporting this, (it’s on the AFP wire), but it seems Parliamentary elections, as expected, have been delayed. The Lower House of Parliament was dissolved a few days back by the King, in anticipation of new elections for a new parliament, to be scheduled within four months. Constitutionally, elections are allowed to be delayed if there are certain circumstances that call for it. In this case, regional council elections will be held first in an attempt to set the stage for the decentralization of the Kingdom’s governorates, which has been a long time in the making.

Meanwhile, a change of government is expected to happen today with Nasser Lawzi (Royal Court Chief) as the next Prime Minister. I expect a significant change in cabinet posts, particularly the key portfolios, such as industry & trade, foreign ministry, ministry of internal affairs, and, depending on what new authority might be given to it in light of these recent developments, the ministry of municipal affairs.

“The government will ask the king to use his powers to postpone the election, which will be preceded by a regional council election for the purpose of a decentralisation of power,” an official told AFP.

“Jordan wants such councils elected. The regional election will show voting trends ahead of the general election,” he said, declining to be named. [source]

The first question that might come to mind is what if the outcome of these elections are not to the state’s liking? The same litmus test was used in 2007 when the municipal election preceded the parliamentary elections by 5 months, with the former resulting in the Islamic Action Front withdrawing from the elections it said were tainted, and the latter elections resulting in the party losing a lot of political seating.

– An interesting article in Maktoob Business on democracy, which has me asking whether democratization and reform can operate exclusively in the local context, with the state obviously preferring the latter over the former.

(note: I’ll try to update throughout the day as the news develops)

UPDATE: According to Randa Habib, who heads AFP in Jordan, the news agency was not reporting the above information based on certainties but rather “scenarios” of what AFP believes will happen. But that’s not how their wire piece reads to me:

Meanwhile, King Abdullah is expected to call for the formation of a new government to replace the cabinet headed by Nader Dahabi since November 2007, according to political sources. The current Royal Court chief, Nasser Lawzi, is expected to head the new administration, they said.

Royal Court Chief, Nasser Lawzi, is also denying this piece of news, telling Al Jazeera’s Jordanian bureau chief, Yasser Abu Hilala that there will be no new government “today” featuring himself.

UPDATE #2 [48 hours later]:

A Royal Decree was issued on Tuesday endorsing a Cabinet decision to postpone parliamentary elections, pending the completion of the decentralisation plan including legislation to govern the elections of local councils. [source]

In other words, the news is probably right, the timing isn’t.


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