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Workshop: The Path of Political Parties to Local Communities
  • Al-Quds Centre for Political Studies launches the "National Campaign for Encouraging Participation and Reducing Abstention."

  • More than 100 community leaders and representatives of youth, women and civil society engaged in discussion with leaders of political parties in Al Russeifa.

The Al-Quds Center for Political Studies has launched a national campaign under the title of "Encouraging participation and reducing abstention", aiming to raise the levels of political and civic participation in the public sphere and increase the turnout in the general elections, especially in the districts and governorates where voting rates are less than 30 percent.

The center launched this national campaign by organizing a workshop dialogue meeting, at the base of the municipality of Rusaifa, under the title: "The Path of Political Parties to Local Communities", with the participation of more than 100 dignitaries and activists from the city and the neighboring regions representing a wide array of civil society activists, local community leaders, youth, women and representatives of different political parties and civil associations.

Mr. Oraib Al-Rantawi, Director General of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, opened the workshop with a welcome speech, during which he presented the most important goals of the national campaign to enhance participation and move away from abstention, addressing the reasons that have led to the spread of the phenomenon of political abstinence, be it related to the policies and procedures of successive governments, the election laws that over the last 30 years have controlled the political process, or that which pertains to the performances of the parties themselves, their internal structures, their working tools, and their rhetoric.

Al-Rantawi explained that the center is in the process of touring the different districts of the Kingdom, beginning with the areas with the lowest turnouts in the polls, in an effort to meet the currently active partisan movement in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections – 2024. He stressed the importance of enrollment into political parties in a reference to the importance of partisan work, noting the possibility of forming new political parties and the lack of satisfaction with the existing ones when they are not convincing to the public. Al-Rantawi called on everyone to take advantage of the window of opportunity provided by the stances and statements of His Majesty the King and the outputs of the anstin to Modernize the Political System.

The Mayor of Rusaifa, Mr. Shadi Al-Zanati, spoke in his opening speech about the importance of the municipalities in playing a supportive role in the efforts towards political modernization by hosting political parties and civil society organizations, indicating that the reasons for the low polling rates in the city of Rusaifa are due to demographic and economic reasons, in addition to the spread of what is known as “dark money”, stressing that the local community in Rusaifa needs more political awareness to be a politicized society that realizes the importance of participating in elections and parties, and its impact on improving the living conditions of the citizen.

The workshop was followed by Dr. Khaled Al-Bakkar, Secretary-General of the Taqaddam Party, who pointed out in his intervention to the importance of focusing on attracting investment and strengthening partnership between the public and private sectors, noting that there is a gap between the two sectors, which necessitates the need to address it, and he noted that the number of Taqaddam party members exceeded 1,700 members. He explained that one of his party's priorities is to form local units in the governorates to find out the comparative advantage that each governorate enjoys that could be invested in advancing the governorate economically. Al-Bakkar also stressed the need for municipal independence and limiting the role of the Ministry of Local Administration to the organizational side.

For his part, Dr. Mustafa Al-Amawi, Secretary General of the National Coalition Party, addressed the importance of listening to the views of the public, pointing out that the National Coalition Party has 17 branches spread throughout the Kingdom. He stressed the importance of participation in the forthcoming elections given the impact that the law has in forming a parliament based on blocs and programmatic parties, instead of the individualist parliaments that he knew in past years, and he called for “the boxes should not be left empty”. Al-Amawi also indicated the importance of the government playing its networking role with different parties to expand the horizons of dialogue.

As for the Deputy Secretary-General of the Al-Methaq Party, Representative Muhammad Al-Hajjuj, he reviewed in his intervention the history of partisan life in Jordan, indicating that its existence preceded the establishment of the kingdom and also accompanied it. Al-Hajjuj reaffirmed the importance of dialogue and openness to all political and partisan trends, noting that the Methaq Party pursued a dialogue approach with all parties, and he added that the problem that the centrist parties have suffered during the past three decades was their weak approach to dialogue with other parties.

Al-Hajjuj reported that the number of members in the Al-Methaq Party has reached 8,500, noting that the Al-Methaq is a conservative, centrist party.

The participants showed enthusiasm for asking questions and interventions. Their interventions centered on the need to address the challenges that hinder joining political parties, especially those related to political and partisan awareness, and the importance of parties playing their role in convincing the public to join them in addition to inviting political parties to get more involved in developments. Public affairs and clarifying its position on any issues that are of public interest.

The speeches of a number of speakers drew attention to the concerns of the Jordanian youth over seeking job opportunities and a livelihood as priority. Participants also pointed to the impact of security concerns that limit the participation of some youth and student groups in political and partisan work. The participants also aimed criticism towards the parties themselves regarding their internal structures or their programs and proposals.

The workshop, which was held in one of the areas with the least turnout for voting during the successive electoral rounds, aimed to learn about the reality and working mechanisms of political parties in engaging with the public, and to find out their visions for the next stage, in light of the outputs of the Royal Commission to Modernize the Political System, which has produced two new laws for parties and elections, allocating 41 of seats of Parliament 20 to the party list, in addition to approving a system for party work within higher education institutions which indicates that political life has entered a new phase in which partisan life occupies a major space.