Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Malaise

The parliament has finally given their vote of confidence to Nader Dahabi’s government. They gave him a record 97 (out of 110) yes votes. This has been called a “golden confidence” vote, in an allusion to the PM’s last name, which means golden.

Now, the farcical nature of the number of votes in favor of the government would not have been so annoying had it not be preceded by a week of discussions and posturing on the issue. During this week, we heard all sorts of valid and invalid complaints about this and former governments, public freedom and participation laws, economic policy and the nature of the makeup of the cabinet. A newbie or a naïve person would have concluded that the government is in trouble. A more experienced observer would have known that it is all for show, and would have predicted such a result.

It is understandable that MP’s want to show off their oratory to their constituents, and to implicitly suggest that they know what is going on. After doing that, the next logical step would be to vote in a matter consistent with your rhetoric. Why did the MP’s treat Dahabi and his cabinet as if they are the long awaited saviors? On the other hand, why didn’t they just shut up in the first place?

The executive branch still holds inordinate power in the country. Deputies who want to show results to their constituents do not want to get on the wrong side of the government. Constituents are only looking for small gains anyway. Getting a soldier hired, a teacher transferred, a school or a health clinic built. In a more perfect system, deputies would not have a role in minutiae of administration, and they would earmark money in the budget for schools and clinics without needing to appease cabinet members. The voters treat the parliament with cynicism, the parliament treats the government with cynicism, the parliament treats the government with cynicism and the press is attempting to take the whole thing seriously, and with a straight face.

Rami Khouri has an excellent article on the political situation on the country (thanks Mohanned). It boils down to this: Nobody thinks that it is worth it to tinker with the system. I suggest reading the whole thing.

Anyway, for all the MP’s who may read this, I say: Shut up. Attend the sessions and committee meetings. Do your job. Be fair and enlightened. I will like you better that way.

Did I mention shut up?

7 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Firas said...

I envy Kuwaitis for the parliament and the freedom of press they have.

But this is exactly what is meant for Jordan!

No Democracy, but simulation...

 
At 7:41 PM, Blogger Issa said...

Firas, Kuwait has a democratic parliament and a high margin of press freedom (in comparison with other Arab states), you have to take in consideration that:
All Kuwaiti citizens who have been naturalized for fewer than 30 years can't vote!
Most Kuwait's residents do not have right to vote (Only persons descending in the male line from residents of Kuwait in <<1920>> are considered citizens!!).

Jordan is said to be a country in which voters' "origins" strongly weigh against democratic reform, so what if these laws are applied in Jordan? Are they more discriminatory than the current election law? Or, on the contrary, could they help political reforms as in Kuwait?

 
At 5:12 AM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

Khalaf,
Eid Mubarak, Merry xmas, Happy new year to all.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Eid mubarak to you as well. May the new year bring heath and prosperity to you and your loved ones.

 
At 7:06 AM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

Khalaf,
This whole process of confidence voting is a big B S and its nothing but a parade where MPs stand up and read a long speech for public consumption only.
Vote of confidence process should be done on cabinet members individually, taking in concideration their credentials, prior experience, performance even prior stands on issues all the way to his personal life, and thats usually done by a committee of both lower house and members of the upper house.
But we all know how governments are formed here and a certain number of ministers are forced on the PM and in some cases 75% of the cabinet members are appointed by every one but the PM.
Again the whole process is nothing but a PARADE and thats why we always end up with same ministers over and over again even though we know they did a LOUSY job the first and second and even the third time they were in office but they keep comming back because no one will ever question their prior performance or PAST.

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Tallouza said...

Khalaf... the traffic law has been rejected.
http://www.jordantimes.com/index.php?news=4545
Eid Mubarak, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

 
At 6:15 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Thanks, Tallouza!

 

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