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Jordan and the question of the upcoming parliamentary elections

While the winds seem to be moving towards holding parliamentary elections in Jordan this year, as scheduled, there is still debate in political circles as to whether the party scene is ready and whether the new parties that are supposed to have the ability to compete and clash with the street are able to run in the elections effectively?!

On the contrary, the opposite faction that advocates of postponing the parliamentary elections does not  stand  on the same page, as there are those who speak of the fear that the Islamists will exploit the events in Gaza and mobilize the street, especially in the major governorates, under the weight of the overwhelming emotional state with the Qassam in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, which will find the elections an appropriate opportunity to recharge it’s  account in the Jordanian street, and the exploitation of the electoral campaign and the favorable atmosphere to strengthen its parliamentary presence, while the new parties, which are supposed to compete with the Muslim Brotherhood, have not yet been able to build their capabilities and  stand on their feet, which means that the competition is almost unfair between two unequal parties, despite the fact that state institutions It is not neutral, but when heading to the ballot box, the choices will be between a strong party that has a strong social base, served by the current political circumstances, and parties that are still nascent and supported by a government that suffers from a growing historical trust gap with the street!

On the opposite side; A group of politicians defends the lack of justification for postponement due to the Gaza War. Jordan held parliamentary elections at the height of the Corona epidemic, and this is a constitutional entitlement that may not be postponed except for solid and strong reasons. The fear of the Islamists’ popularity is exaggerated, as in the best of cases they will not be able to “capitalize” the popularity ofHamas is inside the ballot box, except to a limited extent. In addition, the credibility of political modernization is linked to the commitment to holding elections, and the development of parties is linked to the electoral and political process itself, as it is sufficient to teach political parties the meaning and nature of competition and party work.

From the writer’s point of view of, despite the strength of the argument of those who refuse to postpone the elections, the challenge is not whether they will be held or not (as is the case with the Corona epidemic) ,  but rather what will result from the election? and the main question is: Will these elections strengthen the conviction in the power of political parties as a major player? In the next stage, or exactly the opposite, will it lead to its weakening and a return to the assumptions on which the traditional equation was built before the Committee of Modernizing the Political System What serves the conservative position that was – and still is – originally questioning the eligibility of party work in Jordanian society

Party work, today, has become more complex and difficult than it was previously. It is linked to intense professionalism based on the presence of a clear political colour, discourse and orientation, a strong leadership that has the ability to mobilize the street, a professional media-propaganda, a strong, solid program that combines field surveys and experience of Technocracy which are key conditions for the current parties to be efficient and capable of penetrating the social rules in the street.

However, if we look at the reality of the new parties, despite the  huge movement and activity that they are trying to carry out, the period of their birth is close, not exceeding months, and they have barely been registered in the independent body. Until the war on Gaza began, itheyfound  themselves in a race against time to pursue the event that cast a wide shadow on the Jordanian scene, while at the same time continuing the process of self-building, which requires longer time and more resources. If it enters the next elections, it will be put to a greater test than its true capabilities.

Many politicians believe that postponing the elections will not help correct the path of political parties, and that even if they take an additional year, the result will be the same, and this may be true unless there is a “critical review” of the previous path and a shift towards real efforts to root the partisan experience and build it in the right way.

 The required professionalism needs a clear road map to reach a stage where political parties are able to compete and enter into public debate and reflect the trends of the different and diverse social networks and forces in society, which is the real challenge, as the well-known sociologist, Charles Tilly, sees, namely the ability to integrate networks of trust. diverse aspects of the political process, and increasing the rate of political participation to ensure a real meaning to the entire political process.

Mohammad Abu-Rumman

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