As Jordan gears up for key legislative polls that are to be held within weeks, King Abdullah released the first of a series of discussion papers with the objective of stimulating political debate and ensuring a better election outcome.

This debate, the King said, should be held between citizens and candidates around the January 23 polls, as well as among citizens themselves on the kind of parliament they want and the political realities they aspire to.

The papers are an important addition to the political developments that are taking place in the country and should help inform citizens about the legislature the country will have, as well as set the course for the democratisation process, which involves much more than the mere elections.

The first of the discussion papers, titled “Our journey to forge our path towards democracy”, helps chart one course for this democratisation process, outlining the Royal vision aiming to stimulate debate as well as invite people’s constructive contribution, with the objective of laying solid foundations for the kind of democracy the leadership and the people of this country want.

The King outlined four principles that citizens should embrace not only in political reality but also in everyday life, for the democratisation process to bear fruit: acceptance of the other, acceptance of different views and reaching compromise with others, accountability and sharing gains and sacrifices.

These principles, of course, do not apply only to politics, but to many other fields as well. People have to realise that democracy is a culture and a way of life that needs to constantly develop as the reform process matures, the same as with the learning process and self-improvement, that should never stop.

The upcoming polls are a milestone in the democratisation process. They are also an important building block and a step that will have to be followed by others, the most important being the participatory spirit of citizens who should know that their role does not end with the campaigning and at the ballot boxes.

Hence, the importance of the principle of accountability, of follow-up and of promoting a strong partisan life where political parties emerge to represent the people from across the spectrum.

“As electoral campaigns go on, and through each year of our continuing democratic development after the election, we will know we are on the right path, because we will see ourselves getting better and better” at various patriotic and democratic practices, the King said in his first discussion paper.