On Jordanian Politics and What We Really Want

Haven’t written about Jordanian politics in quite some time, although it’s one of my favourite subjects on this blog. Reading this article made me want to write something about the Novemeber ’10 elections.

The article talks about the recent National Center for Human Rights report which reports violations of the electoral process and how despite promises of the executive branch to guarantee fair elections, the phenomenon of vote buying was evident.  It goes on to say how it resulted in a parliament of ‘government loyalists and lawmakers with tribal affiliations’.  Well, no shock there. It mentions how the report came out recently after the parliament gave the government an overwhelming vote of confidence of 111 vs. 8 votes, giving rise to such political satire. It concludes with the NCHR making a recommendation that the parliament review the new elections law to guarantee equal representation of candidates and votes and so on and so forth.

So that got me thinking. Imagine that the elections were completely fair. Imagine that there was no vote buying and no intervention whatsoever from the executive branch. Do you think the results would’ve varied? During the campaigning process, was there a candidate whom you believed had a good agenda but did not make it to the parliament due to the faulty electoral process? Heck, were you ever even made known of the political agenda of a single candidate?

Let’s continue imagining. Suppose we had a true democracy. Suppose the Muslim Brotherhood, the only functioning political party in my opinion, did not boycott the elections. And suppose they were elected into the parliament by the public who believes in their cause -cuz let’s face it, the only card that could trump tribalism has got to be religion. Do you think that would’ve led to a better Jordan?

In a country that is this socially and culturally divided, do we even know what we want? Actually the question should be, can we agree on what we want? Is it democracy that we really want?

The above are questions to which I have no answers. 3 years ago in the elections of 2007, I would’ve gone and voted if I could. This time, even if I did have the opportunity, I would not have. Is it that I have become cynical to believe that the future of Jordan could be shaped by it’s parliament?

Probably.

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3 responses to “On Jordanian Politics and What We Really Want

  1. Hi. I’m an american muslim living in beirut with my four children (it’s a long story). Have been in Lebanon a few months and don’t like it–won’t bore you with the details. Now I’m considering moving to Amman. I’m looking for a place with good universities for my children, that’s more conservative than Lebanon, with fairly good weather (not excruciatingly hot like the gulf country where we lived for 10 years).
    Aside from the recent political upsets, do you think Jordan is a nice place to live? People I know in Beirut all say that Jordanians are difficult and unfriendly, but the expat and traveler’s websites I’ve seen usually describe Jordanians as “warm and friendly,” so I’m confused. Anyway, my priorities are to live in a relatively stable Muslim majority country that is somewhat conservative, where there are good universities, and the weather is tolerable and the air pollution is not too bad. It would help if amenities were available, such as parks and activities for children. Do you see any reason why I might not want to live in Jordan? Thanks for any feedback you could provide!

  2. Dear Farah,
    My name is Bar Shem-Ur and I’m a journalist from Channel 10 TV news network in Israel. I would like to interview you about recent events in Jordan. Give me back a call or write an E-mail: barshemur@gmail.com
    mobile: 972-543-220-897

  3. The Jan. 23 elections will not be the first time that the Brotherhood and its followers shunned parliamentary elections, though a few Brotherhood supporters have broken the boycott call and are running as independents. The government says nearly 3 million Jordanians have registered to vote in the elections.

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