A+ A-
Workshop : Encouraging Participation and Reducing Abstention – Al Wehdat Refugee Camp
  • Al Wehdat public calls on political parties’ leaders to draw nearer to the concerns and priorities of citizens.

  • Al Momani: Populism and the dissolution of the two-states solution are one of the main challenges confronting the National Charter Party.

  • Rayal: Most of Hassad’s Party members are from the badia and camps.

  • Al Rantawi: Supporting Jordan is supporting Palestine.

With the participation of tens of representatives from Al Wehdat Camp, activists, community leaders, members of civil society and political figures, members of the Amman Municipality Council, as well as residents of Al Wehdat Refugee Camps, Al Quds Center for Political Studies organized a workshop titled 'Encouraging Participation and Reducing Abstention.' The workshop began with welcoming remarks from Mr. Abdul Fattah Al Kuz, Chairman of the Wehdat Camp Services Committee, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al Momani, Secretary-General of the National Charter Party, and H.E. Mr. Mazen Rayal, Secretary-General of the Reform and Renewal Party (Hassad).

Al Momani discussed the factors contributing to voter abstention and limited political engagement, emphasizing that the primary cause of yielding weak parliaments is the abstention of voters from casting their ballots and engaging in the electoral process. He emphasized that the current period is reminiscent of the democratization process in 1989. Additionally, he noted that the outcomes of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System came as a response to the demands of the opposition throughout the past three decades. Regarding the National Charter Party, Al Momani described it as a centrist, conservative party with a reformist orientation, grounded in a political platform. Its core values include religion, the monarchy, the military, national unity, and the Palestinian issue. In terms of challenges facing the party, he highlighted the economic crisis, the dissolution of the two-state solution, populism, the skeptical campaigns in the public discourse, and the absence of objective dialogue and criticism. Al-Momani concluded his speech by stating that his party's electoral programs will be crafted through a scientific and objective approach, involving committees composed of experts and specialists from various sectors.

On his part, Mr. Mazen Rayal, Secretary-General of the Hassad Party, described his party, founded in 2011, as a nationalist party that transitioned from the Opposition Coordination Committee to the renewal current. He stated that most of the party’s members are from the Badia and refugee camps. Rayal then presented the voter turnout rates in the elections, highlighting that they are higher in the governorates compared to the capital. He emphasized that one effective method to boost participation is by intensifying awareness and educational initiatives. He also mentioned that the Hassad Party has organized six educational workshops on party and political engagement. He called for adopting innovative ways of thinking to address the issue of low participation and to convince citizens of the importance of participating in order to seize the opportunity and create parliaments that are trusted by the citizens. He emphasized that abstaining from voting will only result in the production of weak parliaments and the spread of corrupt money.

In his opening speech, Mr. Oraib Al-Rantawi, the director-general of Al Quds Center for Political Studies, expressed his happiness at "returning to the camp" and reuniting with family and friends. He encouraged the participants to unite their collective will and tap into their hidden potential by actively engaging with political parties and participating in general elections. He described this as the only way to choose representative institutions capable of expressing the aspirations, hopes, and priorities of the citizens. In addition, he highlighted the positive impact of participation in curbing corrupt practices, including financial corruption. He stressed the importance of various state and societal institutions giving sufficient attention to make the upcoming elections a starting point for rebuilding trust in the political process, the electoral system, and the institutions it creates. Regarding political parties’ activism, Al-Rantawi pointed out that the door is open for the formation of new parties if licensed parties are unable to meet the aspirations of or attract citizens. He emphasized the importance of parties and their leaders engaging with local communities in various cities, towns, deserts, and refugee camps. He stressed that political participation is the means to confront and address economic and livelihood challenges. He further noted that participation in political parties and elections is one of the most important tools for supporting Palestinian national rights, including the right of return. The strength of Jordan means more support for Palestine.

In his remarks, Mr. Abdul Fattah Al-Kuz emphasized the importance of enhancing participation in political parties despite the challenges that continue to affect party life. He noted that the responsibility for addressing these challenges falls on the various state institutions, parties, and the general public. He also praised the role of King Abdullah II in promoting the democratic transition process through the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System.

The workshop witnessed a rich discussion, during which the participants addressed the reasons for abstention. They urged the political parties to get closer to their concerns and priorities. The interventions included questions and inquiries related to the election law, as well as attempts to understand the parties' opportunities to access parliament and form parliamentary governments.

Some of the interventions revolved around the necessity of enhancing the role of media, intellectual, and cultural elites in raising awareness about the importance of participation. According to the participants’ interventions, these entities are falling short in fulfilling their roles. Additionally, some participants criticized the weaknesses in political party programs and their lack of attention to local governance issues, despite their importance and priority for citizens. They called for political parties to intensify their focus on service-related aspects and to activate their roles in raising awareness about the significance of political engagement.