Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The centrist "current"

Abdulhadi Majali and a group of like-minded politicians have been going around the country to initiate what they call a nationalist “current” that would replace the large number of centrist parties that have proven to be largely impotent. Majali started this initiative shortly before the dissolution of parliament, apparently in the hope that he can forestall elections until his new party was ready. In his meetings he says that it is unfortunate that he was not given enough time to prepare this “current” before the next elections, which are due in November. Four years was more than enough time.

This is not the first time this has been attempted. Before the 1997 elections, the major centrist parties back then joined together in what was known as the national constitutional party. Shortly after the election, the party broke up as the major figures fought over leadership. Most people believe that this experiment was aborted following state intervention. NOW, it is suggested, the state DOES want the establishment of such a party. Is this true? More importantly, will it work?

I have suggested a few times that Jordan needs a large centrist party that can speak for the majority of Jordanians. Nahid Hattar divided political trends in Jordan into four groups. According to the Hattar classification, such a grouping would fall under the “conservative” heading. Will people find such an umbrella appealing? To a large extent this will depend on whether they find the politicians fronting it appealing. This is a major problem.

While Majali and the others insist that they do not aspire for leadership roles in the new organization, few people are willing to take their assurances at face value. I have heard of one participant of these gatherings asking why it is our fate to have to deal with the same politicians in dictatorship and in democracy. This, I think, sums up the problem. Majali is not a particularly popular politician, and he won his seat in 2003 with a little more than 5000 votes amid allegations that his supporters were ironing out indentations pressed into their plastic ID cards so that they can vote more than once. His democratic credentials are lackluster at best.

So, we have an unpopular politician who started an initiative so that he can forestall having to face voters again. The “current” will be irrelevant in the next elections because there is no time to prepare. More importantly, the present voting system (which Majali, as speaker of the house, made sure was not changed) ensures the election of the same types of people who would be attracted to work within the new current. Why would politicians associate themselves with Majali and his cohorts if they can be elected based on their personal and tribal affiliations? Even more relevant, why would people vote for a state inspired party? I mean, does the state not have enough power already? Should we give them more?

Thus, it seems to me that Majali’s new current will not get very far. This is too bad, because we do need such a party with strong programs and convincing politicians. Some columnists think that the idea deserves a chance. It will have its chance, but from what I can see people are skeptical because of the history of such attempts and because of the personalities fronting the effort. I think that this is too bad.


At 10:53 AM, Blogger Bilalٍ said...

I am not sure why it is so hard for them to understand. By them i mean the establisher of this new party.
To have a successful party, you need a huge support from the people down their in the streets. If the people establishing it are not convincing, and its program and objectives are not convincing, how can they be popular! We need someone who is clean, honest, wants to do good for the people and the country NOT to do good for his own self or just trying to destroy Islamic Front.

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

these people should start thinking about retiring. It's over for them,people don't take them seriously anymore.

What would be more fun is looking into fishy deals, such as the Audi police cars?

Abdul Hadi Audi :D


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