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QCPS Organises Conference on Municipal Elections, Decentralisation

Al Quds Centre for Political Studies (QCPS) organised a conference on local elections and decentralisation, with the participation of more than 250 mayors, municipal council members, and former and incumbent MPs, as well as representatives of civil society organisations, and political parties.
Themed, "Municipal Election and Decentralization: Enhancing Political Engagement of Councilwomen", the conference was held at the Landmark Hotel in Amman under the patronage of Prime Minister Dr. Hani Mulki.
On behalf of Mulki, Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maayatah addressed the conference on decentralisation law and provisions, saying they are part of government reform plans.
"Decentralisation aims to increase public engagement and participation in decision making, ensure equity in economic and development projects in Jordanian governorates, and advance local governance," Maayatah added.
He said the government has launched a public awareness campaign to explain the Decentralisation Law, and encourage citizens, particularly women and youths, to vote in the municipal election, slated for mid-2017. People aged 25 and over can compete in the local polls, the minister said, citing the election law.
QCPS Director Oraib Rantawi said the conference caps a series of activities focusing on municipal councils, including workshops and seminars, as well as a training programme for more than 200 councilwomen.
"With the upcoming local elections, Jordan will have a new experiment of local governance, including public participation in decision making," Rantawi told the conference.
"Decentralisation dynamics are expected to recreate the concepts of active citizenship and public participation, redefining the roles of central government and parliament."
Rantawi called on the government, civil society organisations, and political parties to raise public awareness of the Decentralisation Law, "clarifying misconceptions, confusion, and grey areas".
According to a QCPS opinion poll, conducted between 2 and 12 may 2016 in all the govern rates, more than one-third of 1008 people surveyed were dissatisfied with the work of their municipal councils.
Although the survey showed that the performance of councilwomen was better than councilmen, 82 percent of people polled believed that "favouritism and nepotism" are affecting municipal councils, wasting resources and opportunities.
Around 65 percent of people thought that municipal councils are in need for qualified and competent administrative staff, while 68 percent said the municipalities play insufficient role in development as well as alleviation of poverty and unemployment.
Meanwhile, training programmes for councilwomen indicated that 65 percent of them feel that they need training in various fields, including legal education.