Monday, November 19, 2007

Campaign almost over

The elections are scheduled for tomorrow. I am looking forward to getting rid of all of the banners and posters filling the streets. Aside from the visual insult, they are a constant reminder of the superficiality of our discourse.

What also hurts is that this visual pollution didn’t come cheap. Al Jazeera has reported that 150 million dollars have been spent on the campaign. At about 1000 candidates, this works out to an average of about 100,000 dinars per candidate. Obviously, there is a lot of discrepancy, with some spending millions and some spending a few thousand. Much of the visible spending is there for all to see. Other spending, such as transportation, food and sweets for supporters, and vote buying are less visible, yet still useful for circulating money through the economy.

Given that few candidates have much of a message, it is a wonder how much can be spent to say so little. The assumption being that the more you spend, the better the visibility and the higher the chances. It shouldn’t work that way, but Jordanians say “rafig il misa’ad btisa’ad”, i.e. hang out with the fortunate and you will be fortunate. The hope is that massive spending will give people a sense of inevitability. Obviously, this is a double-edged sward.

Big name candidates such as Abdelraouf Rawabdeh (Irbid second), Abdulhadi Majali (Karak second), Sa’ad Hayil Srour (Northern Bedouins) and Abdulkarim Dughmi (Mafraq first) really don’t need to spend that much, and they didn’t. Neither did the IAF candidates. On the other hand, Mamdouh Abbadi (Amman third) is well known, and still seems to have felt the need to have his face grace every electric pole in his district.

Anyway, tomorrow is near, and we will find out how effective all of this has been. If it is true that spending more money increases your chances, one wonders whether it is worth the cost to run. Let’s hope that it is not.

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3 Comments:

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

Khalaf,
Question: why would any one spends or invest over 2 million Jd on campaigning??
unless he hopes his investment will some how some way will pay off !!
Remember this money is not contributed by the political party or the supporter, its peronal funding.
We will see tomorrow who wins, but we will see in less than A year who started to cash in on his investment.
Watch out for government beds and you'll see who gets them.

 
At 2:11 PM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

Although I meant governments bids, also beds will work just as well, as many of our newly elected members will spend thousand and thousand of RED nights all over the world, and we will be paying for it.
Courtesy of the Jordanian government.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Masalha: Hopefully, the financial disclosure law will will dissuade deputies from getting in bed for bids. On the other hand, somebody has to get these bids, right? At least the government will get something for it's money.

 

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