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New election law gives ‘historic opportunity’ for women in politics

By JT - Jan 07,2023 - Last updated at Jan 07,2023

AMMAN — The 2022 Election Law provides a “historic opportunity” for women to enhance their presence in political life and their participation in the parliamentary arena.

After it passed through the proper legislative channels, the Election Law resulted from the Royal Commission for the Modernisation of the Political System, formed by His Majesty King Abdullah at the start of the second centennial of the Jordanian state, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Endorsing the law was aimed at developing the political system in order to achieve parliamentary and partisan life befitting Jordanians and the Kingdom’s democratic process.

The 2022 Election Law increased the number of seats reserved for women under the quota to 18 seats at the local level, as well as one seat for the general constituency at the national level, compared with 15 seats that were reserved for women in the 2020 and 2016 elections.

Several observers and specialists told Petra that the legislative environment has empowered women and provided them equality, and has given women the opportunity to take initiative and join political parties.

Senator Khalid Kalaldeh said that the law did not only allocate 18 seats for women out of 97 seats at the local constituency level, but also allowed women to compete outside of the boundaries of the quota.

At the general constituency level, which has 41 potential seats, the law allocated at least one seat for a woman among the top three seats, and at least one women among the following three candidates, provided that the number of candidates on the general list is distributed to at least 50 per cent of the local constituencies.

Kalaldeh, who was president of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for six years, said that these conditions guarantee the presence of two women among the first six candidates, which boosts women’s opportunities to reach the Lower House.

Former MP Dima Tahboub told Petra that the new election law does not only preserve quota seats, but also increases them at the level of local constituencies, describing the step as “positive” and “something that could enhance women’s presence in the Lower Chamber”.

Jamal Balaawi, an expert of Lower House affairs, said that the new law has regulated women’s competition at the level of local constituencies by allowing women to compete both within the quota system and beyond, which will create a new “positive atmosphere”.

Samar Tarawneh, head of the women’s empowerment unit at the IEC, said that the new political parties and election laws have opened wider horizons for women, noting that the Election Law obliged partisan lists to include at least one woman among the first three candidates.

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