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PM urges political parties to support draft elections law

By JT - Sep 11,2015 - Last updated at Sep 11,2015

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour (left) addresses a conference on the role of political parties in parliamentary life in the presence of Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh on Thursday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Thursday underscored the importance of the new draft elections law and called for supporting the bill, saying it represents a real chance for political reform.  

Last week, the government endorsed a draft elections law intended to change the controversial one-person, one-vote electoral system, a step that was welcomed publicly and in political circles, according to officials and a recent survey. 

Speaking at the inauguration of a conference at the Dead Sea focusing on the role of political parties in parliamentary life, organised by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, the premier said His Majesty King Abdullah has entrusted the government and the current Parliament with working to achieve political development through enacting reform-oriented laws. 

Ensour said the law on political parties was top on the government›s agenda because of its belief in the role of political parties in the reform process. Second on the list was the law on municipalities, followed by the decentralisation law, and finally the elections bill, he said.

The prime minister called on participants in the conference to shed more light on the political parties draft law and to carefully examine it, as the bill has not yet been ratified by the King. 

Ensour said he believed the King has not yet ratified the draft because the Monarch expected and wanted to see political parties making greater strides and making real progress, but he has not seen that forthcoming in the law, adding that if his assessment was correct, then there is still time and room to go back to the draft law and revisit it. 

Highlighting the other items of legislation, the premier described the law on municipalities and the law on decentralisation as reform-oriented laws as they are designed to expand public participation in the decision-making process, pointing out that the draft elections law has come “to complete the picture” of political reform.

The premier urged political parties to support the proposed elections law, stressing their role in boosting democracy. He called on the leaders of political parties and politicians to submit their remarks on the bill to the Lower House to introduce any improvements they find fit, pointing out that the government does not claim it has submitted a perfect law. 

Under the current draft law, a political party can run for Parliament under an open list system, in more than one constituency or governorate, Ensour said, adding that this is intended to support political parties. 

True, he said, the draft is similar to the 1989 Elections Law, but it is better because the proposed open list gives all community brackets, community leaders and parties the chance to run for Parliament, he added. 

At the meeting that was also attended by Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh, discussions addressed several issues concerning political parties and ways to strengthen them, besides reviewing the draft elections law. 


Parties’ secretaries general said they have not rejected the draft law, but there has been a “consensus” among party leaders that the bill needs further improvements, pointing out that they support national reconciliation and that all parties should be engaged in the political life.

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