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Analysing key articles of the Election Law

Apr 16,2024 - Last updated at Apr 16,2024

Firstly, I would like to point out that Constitution has guaranteed the right of Jordanians to join parties, participate in parliamentary elections and run for them, whether through parties or others. This reinforces the non-requirement of party affiliation to run for any parliamentary seats. Therefore, I believe that parties that are proud of themselves can get their seats as long as they are allowed to run for seats within the general district and local districts, and this negates — from my point of view — the justification for allocating seats exclusively for them, especially considering the small number of members who belong to the parties.

The election law for the House of Representatives, in article 2 thereof, defines the candidate as the voter whose application for candidacy for the representative elections has been accepted in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and the election law for the House of Representatives. It also defined the party list as the list formed by a party or party alliance for the purposes of participating in the parliamentary elections. While the local list is defined as the list formed from a number of candidates in the local electoral district for the purposes of participating in the parliamentary elections. It defined the list as the party list and the local list.

The texts do not explicitly indicate that it is not permissible to nominate non-partisan members within the lists formed by a party or party alliance, as the party list is defined as the list formed by a party or party alliance without explicitly stipulating that the members of the formed list are members of the party or members of the participating parties in parliamentary elections within a party coalition.

What supports my opinion is that the details of the formation of party lists contained in paragraph C of article 8 of the election law for the House of Representatives do not indicate that the candidate is a member of the party. Also, paragraph D of article 13 of the law, which stipulates that “no party member may run for candidacy on the party list unless he has been affiliated with that party for a period of no less than six months before polling day,” does not necessarily mean that candidacy within the lists formed by the party or party alliance is limited to members of that party or members of those parties participating in the parliamentary elections within a party alliance.

Article 9 of the law does not indicate that the local list may participate in the parliamentary elections as a party list, especially since article 2 of the law differentiates between them in meaning. As a result, are the numbers of party winners of local list seats counted in the calculations of the party’s parliamentary majority and its consequences? Are the numbers of winners of local list seats, as supporters of a particular party without being members of it but who may express their desire to join it after winning membership in the House of Representatives for their own benefit, counted in the parliamentary majority and its consequences?

Clause 1 of paragraph A of article 49 of the law stipulates that the winning local list must exceed the “threshold” percentage of 7 per cent of the total number of voters in the district. Clause 2 of the same paragraph stipulates that each of the lists that exceeded the “threshold” percentage shall obtain seats on the basis of the ratio of the number of votes obtained from the total number of votes for lists that exceeded the “threshold” in the local electoral district to the number of seats allocated to the competitive track in it.

Here I would like to say that the text of clause 2 does not achieve what is intended and is not mathematically interpretable. Rather, it is more correct to use the following text: Each of the lists that exceeded the “threshold” percentage will obtain seats from the number of seats allocated to the competitive path in proportion to the number of votes it obtained from the total number of votes for the lists that exceeded the “threshold” percentage in the local electoral district.

Clause 4 of the same paragraph states: Notwithstanding what is stated in clause 1 of this paragraph, if the seats allocated to the local electoral district cannot be filled due to the candidate lists not reaching the “threshold” percentage, the Independent Election Commission shall reduce the “threshold” percentage by 1 per cent in each once until the seats allocated to the district are filled from the lists that obtained that percentage.

The literal text of this clause does not mean reducing the “threshold” percentage of 7 per cent by 1 per cent to become 6 per cent the first time and 5 per cent the second time and so on. Rather, it means reducing the “threshold” percentage of 7 per cent by 1 per cent to become 6.93 per cent and the second time 6.8607 per cent and so on. That is, the text does not achieve what is intended, and it would have been more correct to use the following text: reducing the “threshold” percentage of 7 per cent to 6 per cent the first time, 5 per cent the second time, and so on.

Clause 1 of paragraph A of article 50 of the law stipulates that the party list must exceed the “threshold” percentage of 2.5 per cent of the total number of voters in the general electoral district. Clause 2 of the same paragraph stipulates that each of the lists that exceeded the “threshold” shall obtain seats in the general electoral district is proportion to the number of votes it obtained out of the total number of votes for lists that exceeded the “threshold” percentage. If at least three-party lists do not reach the “threshold” percentage, the Independent Election Commission shall reduce the “threshold” per centage by an amount half a per cent respectively until the number of winning party lists reaches a minimum of three lists.

The literal text of this clause does not mean reducing the “threshold” percentage of 2.5 per cent by half a percent, respectively, to become 2 per cent for the first time and 1.5 per cent for the second time. Rather, it means reducing the “threshold” percentage of 2.5 per cent by half a per cent, respectively, to become 2.375 per cent for the first time and 2.225625 per cent the second time, and so on. That is, the text does not achieve what is intended, and it would have been more correct to use the following text: reducing the “threshold” percentage of 2.5 per cent to 2 per cent the first time, 1.5 per cent the second time, and so on.

The most dangerous thing in this analysis is arriving at the conclusion that the task of legislation has not been addressed to the required level. We should not forget that these formulations were presented to the Council of Ministers and then to the House of Representatives and from there to the Senate, and were discussed in the relevant committees emanating from the Council of Ministers, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. What about accuracy and prudence in formulating and approving legislation, the absence of which undoubtedly greatly hinders the implementation of these texts in executive agencies, which consequently reflects negatively on the integrity and speed of implementation? This effect automatically extends to the work of the judicial authority in terms of the difficulty of interpreting and applying texts and thus reducing the speed of adjudicating cases, as well as increasing the rate of overturning rulings.

In conclusion, the work of the agencies and institutions emanating from it is integrated, and therefore any defect in any station or circle among them is reflected in the rest of the stations and circles, and any weakness in any of them weakens the overall performance.

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