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QCPS Conference Proposes Quota of Parliamentary Seats for Political Parties

2017-01-15

A conference organised by Al Quds Centre for Political Studies (QCPS) on the role of the lower house in reforms suggested a quota of reserved seats in parliament for political parties.
The conference, "The 18th Lower House of Parliament: Performance and Reform Challenges," also proposed splitting parliamentary seats equally between political parties and independents.
Former and incumbent MPs, as well as academics, leaders of political parties, and activists of civil society organisations took part in the conference, held at the Landmark Hotel in Amman.
The participants called for examining the results of the 2016 general elections as a prelude to reconsider the Election Law and address flaws.
Discussing the parliamentary legislative and oversight functions, as well as conduct of the lower house, the conference focused on how to improve the poor performance of political parties, which is key to enhancing democratisation and reforming the structure of the house of representatives.
Weakness of political parties makes the adoption of an open proportional representation system infeasible, as parliamentary blocs and coalitions failed to compensate for this weakness, the participants agreed.
Female participants said the quota for women's reserved political positions in parliament and governorate councils should not be less than 25 percent. Others emphasised the need for amending the Labour Law and recognising the rights of trade unions and business associations.
The conference also examined the role of the lower house in reforming the decentralisation, municipalities, election, political parties, and labour laws.
MPs Dr. Fawzi Toa'meh, Khalid Al Bakkar, engineer Jamal Qammoh, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, Dr. Musa Al Wahsh, Dr. Khair Abu Seileek, Mazen Al Qadi, Abdulmenem Al Odat, Marzuq Al Daájah, and engineer Khalid Ramadan participated in the discussions.
The attendees called for finding the right mechanisms and initiatives to generate political will for change, achieve cooperation between governmental bodies and civil society organisations, and ensure citizen engagement in policy and decision making.
They underlined the need for balancing security and development requirements to ensure stability and equal opportunity under the rule of law.
In his opening remarks, QCPS Director Oraib Al Rantawi listed three major challenges facing the lower house, which, he said, was elected in very difficult circumstances.
"The first challenge is the extraordinary economic crisis in Jordan, a country with very limited or no resources. Cheap populism and identification with the government are unacceptable because the problem affects people's lives and the country's security," Rantawi told the conference.
"The trust gap between the public and government is dangerously widening, which could push youths to look for unwanted choices. Not only we need to rebuild an already fragile trust in the lower house, but also restore trust in state institutions," he said as he explained the second challenge.
According to Rantawi, the third challenge is radicalism.
"Radicalism and fanaticism are rising, not only in politics and religion, but also in society in the form of social violence. They threaten the rule of law, as well as the country's security and stability," he added.
Rantawi also spoke about the parliamentary legislative and oversight functions, as well as conduct and problems of the 17th Lower House of Parliament, emphasising the duty of its successor to preserve national security and stability.