Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So, how did they do?

In my previous post, I put four points on which I would judge the discussion of confidence for Marouf Bakhit and his cabinet. In essence, I think that the credibility of the democratic process is on the line. The Bakhit government inherited an opaque national agenda which it is pushing forth without making public (and I might add it was written without the participation of elected representatives), and is pushing laws which were passed undemocratically and, one might say, unconstitutionally. So, in light of this flagrant attack on the only democratically elected body in the government and its legislative role, one might ask whether the parliament is ready to live up to it's responsibilities, or will it cave to threats of dissolution?

Well, one way to guess it to read Bakhit's response. Essentially, he blew them off, saying that he would "study" all of the comments given by the deputies. And the deputies' response? They gave him 86 confidence votes, 20 no confidence and one abstention.

So, despite all of the hot air, the deputies actually came away empty handed. The temporary legislation which they rejected will stay in force as the senate sleeps on it, despite being touched upon by Abdulkarim Dughmi. The NA will stay an enigma, with one deputy, Odeh Gawwas, complaining that even the deputies didn't have access to the NA. Some deputies even called for the swift implementation of the NA, despite clearly not having read it.

Separation between the security role and the political role of the security services was not discussed, and despite some mention of the issue of privatization, Bakhit will ignore these faint calls.

So, what has happened is that the government has conceded the political aspect of the NA to the parliament, saying that it is the house's role to pass this legislation, but didn't concede the arguably more important economic issues. So, while the IAF deputies talk about implementing sharia, and the rest of the deputies fixated on more mundane aspects of service and job distribution, the fat cats walked away with a regressive tax law that will punish the middle class and reward the rich. Moreover, liquidating public property has become much easier, also in favor of the rich.

So, how did they do? They were limp. Unfortunately for the government, it is not the deputies' opinion that matters. I hope that the government doesn't push the people too far, but it looks like things are heading that way.


At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet this is not something new. We just thought the buzz words that started with "ala qadr ahl al azm" (which eventually evolved into Al Urdon Awwalan) and did not stop at the "National Agenda" were going to yield something tangible.

The rich will become richer and the poor will eventually die; the middle class will produce a minority who will become the nouveau riche while the majority will join the masses of the poor. We will then play around some percentages and brackets and redefine the poor as only those who are dying of malnutrition and announce that the successive governments and the "foreign investment" were able to raise the standard of living in Jordan.

w yabqa al insaan aghla ma namlik..


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