Monday, September 26, 2005

Parliament delay

A Royal decree was issued yesterday delaying the opening the regular session of parliament for two months. This was against a background of a threat to withhold confidence from the government over the rising cost of fuel.

Typically, no-confidence motions in Jordan are simply ways to grandstand and extort small bribes from the government. These can include cars, increased salaries or cash payments paid in order to help needy families who are constituents of certain MP's. Of course, since the MP is responsible for distributing the money outside the normal framework of government help to the poor, this money is simply a bribe.

In this case, it is dishonest to ask for a no confidence vote when it is clear that the options for the government are limited. Of course, nobody wants to pay more money for gas, but nobody has presented a viable alternative either. The proposed increases in cigarette and liquor taxes are silly, as these taxes have recently been raised and will not do nearly enough to cover the massive deficit caused by increasing world oil prices.

Therefore, the proposed no-confidence vote can be considered dishonest grandstanding by corrupt MP's. Nobody will be sorry that they stay home another two months, except their wives.


At 3:17 PM, Blogger Blogger said...

Welcome to Jordan Planet!
Your blog is just what we need, brave and objetive.
Keep up the good work.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Linda said...

I second that!

Welcome to the Planet!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Linda said...

This whole idea of no confidence vote was created so that parliments who had real reasons for having no confidence in their governments would bring awaeness to the issues regarding the government.

Now in regards to the JOrdanian MP, when this is done, is it done in all fairness, or not? This is a direct question to all who live in Jordan and keep up with the political issues. Or is it done so that the MPs can bribe and just get what they want? If so cant the king just change the MPs if they do this for the wrong reasons? He has changed them in the past?

None of these questions of mine are rhetorical. I am really wondering about this.

If some of you can explain it would be great.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Linda: I would not use what happens in other parliaments to compare with Jordan. It is simply not relevant to compare for two reasons. The first is that in Jordan, most MP are elected as independants, and are not affiliated with parties. Of course, this is not true with most democracies, where people are elected largely on the basis of what they represent in the political spectrum, and not on who has the biggest tribal base. The second difference is that in democracies, the party with the majority in parliament forms the government. If there are coalitions, no confidence votes are important because they are tests of whether the different parties forming the coalition are still in agreement. Coalitions fail when there are policy differences large enough for the parties involved to disagree with each other.

Thus, as you see, this really is not what needs to be examined in Jordan. After the formation of the latest government by Adnan Badran, a large number of MP's threatened to vote against his govenment. Thier demands were greater representation for the south and the removal of Basem Awadallah. After Badran modified his team, and agreed to let them buy BMW's without customs duties, he won the no-confidence vote. As you see from this, there are no real policy issues which were the cause for the crisis, but simply a question of represntation.

For the most part, the Jordanian Parliament does what the government tells them to do. The government has leverage because it controls the money and jobs, and so if MP want to serve their constituents, they have to be on good terms with the government. Sometimes MP's dig up corruption cases against the government, but this is done so that they can get better advantages for their constituents, and thus corruption cases are never seriously followed up.

I am getting a headache just thinking of this. What a mess!

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Thanks Firas. I look forward to staying in touch.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Linda said...

thank you for explaining that to me khalaf. you clarified some of my questions.

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