Trajectory Papers

Political Parties in Jordan’s 2020 Parliamentary

   

Political Parties in Jordan’s 2020 Parliamentary Elections

Mohammed Abu Rumman

 

Highlights

  • The political parties’ scene underwent some partial transformations as the Kingdom moves towards parliamentary elections.
  • The participation of political parties is distinguished in terms of new tactics related to the financial contributions regulations that helped change the alliance formation process
  • Islamic Action Front participation is similar in terms of candidates and tactics to the 2016 elections.
  •  It is unlikely to witness significant change to the nature of the Parliament in terms of party participation.
   

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, Musa al Maaytah was successful in encouraging political parties to participate in the 2020 Parliamentary elections. This is attributed to the engineering of the financial contribution bylaws number 155 to support political parties.

The bylaws linked government financial support to political parties to a set of criteria including participation in parliamentary elections, whether in terms of number of candidates or number of districts, as well as new gender and youth benchmarks for candidates.

Unlike previous years, these new regulations forced parties to announce their candidates clearly and much earlier, as opposed to the tendency to be ambiguous and prioritize social and tribal considerations in previous years.

The financial support incentives also require parties to participate in coalitions and enhance female participation as well as candidates under the age of 35, considered a new phenomenon

To what extent are these changes having a real impact on the evolution of political parties and not just a tactical phenomenon to get financial support?

Such changes could on one hand lead in time to a more developed party scene encouraging parties to integrate and form larger coalitions. On the other hand, some see such changes as mere formalities and tactics without any real impact on the formation of the next Parliament.
The latter view holds that parties have not developed their vision and capability for political outreach and the electoral system does not enhance their ability to achieve stronger presence.
Key to assessing the impact of the recent developments will be the outcome of the next elections in terms of number of seats parties get and the level of cohesion that their members will maintain in forming effective coalitions.
This is particularly relevant as the previous Parliament witnessed fragmentation and breakdowns in political parties’ memberships and their coalitions, with the usual exception being the IAF.

 

The Political Party Landscape and party coalitions

The party landscape is divided into a group of coalitions.
All 48 registered parties have come under the umbrella of various party coalitions with the exception of 14 parties.
Six of the nationalist leftist parties formed one coalition.
A Reformist Party coalition included two other parties, while the Renewal Coalition brought together three parties.
The National Parties Coalition included six parties.
Twelve parties formed the Centrist Parties Coalition. The National Reform Coalition included 5 parties.
The parties that did not enter coalitions were the IAF, the Civic Coalition, The Social Democratic Party, AL Risala Party, Stronger Jordan Party, Partnership and Salvation Party, and the National Constitutional Party among others.

 

The Party Scene in the 2020 Elections

All parties announced their participation in the 2020 elections individually or through coalitions with the exception of the Partnership and Salvation Party (Mohammed Hammouri), which boycotted.

The following observations on tactical changes in the party behavior in the current elections are noted:
1. The Civic Coalition participates in partnership with the National Progressive Front in the third district as in previous elections.
2. The nationalist and leftist coalition participates in the third district.
3. The nationalist parties’ coalition did not unify its lists. The National Conference Party (Zamzam) is filing 16 candidates over several districts and the Centrist Islamic party is participating in 12 districts with 20 candidates
4. The Social Democratic Party is participating with 8 candidates in Amman, Zarqa, Madaba, Karak and Irbid.
5. Centrist Parties are participating with candidates in various governorates
6. IAF is participating through the National Reform Alliance with 88 candidates in seven governorates.

Around 332 party members are running mostly from the IAF and the nationalist and leftist parties in Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa Governorates. However, these Governorates usually witness the lowest levels of voter turnout followed by Madaba, Balqa and Karak governorates. The Governorates with least party activity in the lections include Mafraq, Aqaba, Maan, Jerash, Tafileh and Ajloun.

Observations on IAF Tactics

IAF lists indicate the continuity of previous tactics in terms of coming under the banner of the National Alliance for Reform and the abandonment of the “Islam is the Solution” slogan. The IAF continues its tactic of staying away from center stage in the campaign.
Most former MPs from the coalition have been maintained in the lists for the current election without significant renewal in terms of bringing out a new generation, as the traditional considerations remain dominant in the governorates at the expense of producing new leaderships with different policies

 

Conclusion

Despite the clear differences in the party scene in the 2020 elections, the expected results are not different in any significant manner from the previous parliament whether in terms of number of seats parties are expected to win, or the size of representation by IAF, or the fragile nature of political coalitions that will be formed on party basis. It is therefore, not expected to see a qualitative leap in party politics that could produce skilled political leaders in parliamentary work and public outreach.

 

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