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Workshop: The Decision is Yours …And the Choice is in Your Hands - Zarqa
  •  Mass meeting with Zarqa’s camp activists to encourage participation and reduce abstention.

  •  Participants demand a fair representation of Zarqa in the House of Representatives and call for the election of the Camp Services Committees.

  •  Abu So’eleek: We believethe royal guarantees for the integrity of the elections, and call on the state institutions to act in accordance with them.

  •  Hijjawi: Women's participation contributes to their inclusion in developmental efforts and fosters a sense of active citizenship and equality.

  •  Al Rantawi: There’s no choice but to work on fostering the popular - representative pillar.

  •  Al Bourini: Jordan is a country that can accommodate everyone, and respecting diversity and multiplicity is a duty as we are standing on the threshold of the Kingdom’s second century.

The national campaign to encourage participation and reduce abstention, which was launched by Al Quds Center for Political Studies, resumed its public meetings by organizing a workshop in the hall of the Zarqa Camp Services Committee under the title: 'The Decision is Yours... And the Choice is in Your Hands.' The session was attended by more than a hundred activists, including leaders, heads, and members of political parties, members of the Governorate Council, associations, and local community organizations, as well as members of the public interested in public affairs in the city of Zarqa. The workshop featured both Dr. Mohammad Abu So'eleek, a member of the House of Representatives from the Reform parliamentary Bloc, and Ms. Ghada Hajawi, a legal expert and member of the Jordanian Women's Union.

In his speech, Dr. Abu So’eleek addressed the importance of all parties taking responsibility for the success of the electoral process and ensuring its integrity and transparency, referring to the Independent Election Commission responsible for managing the election, and the electors themselves. Regarding the IEC, Abu So'eleek emphasized the importance of ensuring the highest levels of transparency and election integrity, highlighting the need for citizens to feel this, especially given that the previous elections witnessed several incidents that compromised the integrity of the elections. Abu So'eleek expressed his confidence in the royal guarantees for the integrity of the elections and called on the government and various state institutions and agencies to act in accordance with these guarantees and translate them faithfully.

Abu So'eleek called on voters to participate actively in the elections, as this plays a role in combating vote-buying practices. He urged voters to elect programs rather than individuals, emphasizing the importance of seeking visions and programs that align with the priorities of citizens, rather than focusing on individuals and leadership.

In relation to the states’ institutions conduct, Abu So’eleek stressed the importance of taking measures to end the fear of political engagement, by fostering the climate of public freedoms and freedom of expression. He further noted the necessity of continuous efforts to address the consequences of the Cybercrime Law, which had negative impacts on the system of participation in public and political life. He also called for an end to security crackdowns and prosecutions, urging a halt to measures that prevent the organization of events and public activities, particularly mentioning certain practices that have affected the Islamic Action Front party in this regard.

In her intervention, Mrs. Ghada Hijjawi highlighted the importance of women's roles in the political and public sphere. . She stressed the necessity of women's involvement in political and party activities, urging women to participate and head to the polling centers. She emphasized the importance of not succumbing to any forms of electoral violence and voting for candidates who represent their priorities without external influence from their husbands or families.
Hajawi also pointed out that political reform enhances the role of women in the decision-making process and their participation in elections, political parties, and civil society contributes to their integration into various forms of development processes.

On the impact of women's participation, Hajawi pointed out that participation raises the level of psychological satisfaction and deepens the sense of citizenship among women. In addition, it increases awareness of the surrounding risks and contributes to the design of responsive programs for women.

On their turn, participants outlined the reasons for abstaining from voting and not engaging with political parties. They highlighted the impact of economic and life conditions on the priority of participation, as well as the lack of trust in previous election experiences and their outcomes.

Participants also called for enhancing the government's role in raising awareness, encouraging participation, and taking necessary steps to promote the concept of citizenship that would lead to increased participation. They further discussed the underrepresentation of Zarqa in the House of Representatives compared to other governorates, considering the density of its population.
Participants emphasized the importance of considering elections for the president and members of the camp services committees. Since Jordanian citizens in the camps have the right to elect members of the House of Representatives, it is even more important for them to elect their representatives in the camp services committees.

The workshop was presented and chaired by Mr. Oraib Al Rantawi, the Director-General of Al Quds Center for Political Studies. He began by asking the participants to observe a minute of silence and recite the Fatiha in remembrance of the victims who were affected by the earthquake in Morocco, the floods in Libya, and the martyrs of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, which occurred exactly 41 years ago.

During his opening speech, Al Rantawi addressed the citizens' concerns and the reasons behind their abstention from political participation, emphasizing that these concerns are legitimate in light of the experiences citizens have had in previous decades. He stressed the importance and necessity of overcoming these concerns, particularly in the context of changing circumstances and the opportunities arising from the outcomes of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System.

Al-Rantawi emphasized the importance of engaging in the electoral process and political parties’ activity, affirming that there is an opportunity to achieve political reform and access to party-based parliaments. He pointed out that there are six to eight parties that may surpass the threshold of representation in the upcoming elections. According to him, the upcoming elections will work to sort out and sift through the parties, with elections serving as a filter for parties that are expected to reach more than forty.

Regarding political parties, Al-Rantawi pointed out the evolution of political tendencies in Jordan with their various currents. Left-wing parties have been renewing their tools and figures, and we have begun to witness the emergence of a centrist left-leaning trend. Conservative parties, on the other hand, such as the Islamic Action Front and the National Coalition, have opportunities for competition. Programmatic parties have also started to form to participate in the upcoming elections.

Regarding the evolution of the political party landscape, Al Rantawi highlighted the impact of the changing funding criteria, as it has become linked to election results. This means that political parties must develop platforms that align with the priorities and needs of the people, rather than formulating them behind closed doors. Al-Rantawi called for active participation in political and party activities, emphasizing that the parliament represents the citizens' stake in the political system and serves as one of its pillars.

The President of the Camp Services Committee of Zarqa, Mr. Mohammad Al-Bourini, opened the workshop with welcoming remarks, emphasizing the significance of its timing. He highlighted that the outcomes of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System, along with the resulting constitutional amendments and laws, have increased the responsibility placed on citizens regarding the need for participation. Al-Bourini also stressed the importance of respecting diversity and differences of opinion, emphasizing that Jordan is a country that accommodates all viewpoints and ideas. He called for engagement, participation, and the initiation of a new phase coinciding with the country's bicentennial.