Tuesday, January 17, 2006

How the political parties blew it

The defeat of the temporary income tax law has demonstrated the power of civil society in driving events. One missing component in the fight to repeal this law was the political parties. In any other system parties would have been in the forefront of the debate on such an issue.

So, during the last month, the press, parliament, trade unions, and professional unions, have been in the thick of this debate, which had important social and fiscal ramifications on the country. Meanwhile, the "opposition" was in Damascus, championing Bashar Assad, and the "centrist parties" are in the process of trying to lead reconciliation in Lebanon.

The issue of political parties in Jordan and their impact is a subject of intense debate, with the government in the process of developing a new law for political parties. A committee between the ministry of political development, the ministry of interior and various political parties has been set up, with the centrist parties boycotting. The government promised parliament that the new law will be ready soon.

Jamil Nimri thinks that political parties are weak because the reward for their success is not power, but simply membership in parliament. I don't believe that a political party with a majority of members in parliament can be considered powerless. The Jordanian constitution places a lot of legislative authority in the lower house, and latest events show that the house can be instrumental in driving policy.

To me, the reason for the weakness of political parties has manifested itself in the latest events. The issue is not too many parties, the involvement of professional unions in politics or the legislative framework or limited reward for success. The issue is that these parties are out of touch with what resonates with people. The latest poll shows that people are interested in the economy and social welfare. Simply stated, these guys are out of touch. Any attempt to reform the political system is doomed to failure if these parties insist on being irrelevant.


At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to bring to your attention some details regarding the Jordanian involvement in Haiti:


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