Under Pressure

I found this little piece hidden in the Jordan Times today very curious. Lower House Speaker Abdul Hadi Majali defended Parliamentarians from recent press claims that this latest extraordinary session resulted in “external pressures” placed on MPs to pass/approve government legislation. 32 of the 42 proposed bills have been passed thus far. It’s a curious claim I think due to the fact that in the past month and a half or so, a lot of controversy and debate surrounded many of these bills such as the anti-terrorism law or the khutba law or financial disclosure or even defining corruption and wasta. Not to mention one boycott and a fairly physical fight. If anything, I tend to agree with fellow blogger Khalaf who argues that recent signs indicate the government is not at all happy with the Parliament and has viewed them as uncooperative.

While many of these bills have been approved and are on their way to becoming laws, many if not all of these bills were amended a great deal before the final Lower House approval. For the most part the debate that surrounded almost all the bills had the MPs at odds with the government. Suffice to say if there was external pressure on MPs then I think they would have been much more acquiescent to all the government’s demands. Or I suppose one could argue that whatever external pressure there was, it was simply ineffective. I was surprised to find the senate approved the financial disclosure bill to include themselves; I expect more of the predictable fight.

It’s no surprise that the government wanted to fast track a lot of legislation in a short amount of time, perhaps due to time limitations or perhaps to gain some political capital, but I am sometimes baffled by the government’s reaction to the Parliament and this is one of those cases. At times it appears as if they’re surprised to encounter debate or outright rejection from members of the legislative branch. But the realist in me knows there is probably little chance the government did not expect the Lower House to approve everything without a fight.

And for the time being that’s a good thing.

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