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What is the rationale behind the declared amnesty?

Jan 05,2019 - Last updated at Jan 05,2019

I still do not know why the government as declared a general amnesty for low-key violations and ended up reaping more criticism than thanks and appreciation.

What was the occasion in the first place to declare an amnesty, irrespective of the scope of coverage? What is even more perplexing is the criterion for widening or limiting the scope of the amnesty, especially when at the end of the day, more people ended up upset than happy or content with the amnesty. Besides, why can some people become scot free and absolved of responsibility for even minor and non-criminal violations? There is fear that if the amnesty regime becomes chronic or a standard policy, many people may get the wrong message by relying on it to free themselves of even civil responsibility.

According to government sources, the lost revenues from the amnesty could reach many millions of dinars. What adds insult to injury is the proposition that in the end, the high price tag of this seemingly benevolent initiative did not please anyone except a very few. True, Jordan has a long tradition of declaring general amnesties, but they were all connected to some specific occasion. This time, there is none that one can see.

This leads me to the next question: What drove or inspired the government to take such an initiative now? Is it the continued controversy over the new Income Tax Law, and the government wants a diversion? If that was the case, I doubt very seriously that the amnesty decision did anything to reduce tension and discord over the new legislation. Could it be then to improve the approval rating of the government? This could not be the case either, since Prime Minister Omar Razzaz continues to enjoy wide public support and does not need any gimmicks to help him attain higher popularity. Perhaps then it was the end of the year and the government wanted the people to enjoy the arrival of a new year in a festive mood, with some tangible gains. This too, however, could not be the case because more people were dissatisfied than satisfied with the amnesty.

I, personally, ran out of the explanations that could make sense to explain why the government decided all of a sudden to declare an amnesty. Perhaps the government knows best but has yet to explain how that could be the case.

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