Sunday, June 12, 2011

Abdullah's Promised Reforms

Jordan's King Abdullah II is making promises:
"King Abdullah II yesterday promised reforms leading to parliamentary government and a tougher fight against anti-corruption, at the same time warning against 'chaos' and the media creating a climate of 'hatred'.

"In his first televised address since pro-reform protests began in Jordan in January, the king pledged a new electoral law that would result in 'a parliament with active political party representation' that 'allows the formation of governments based on parliamentary majority … in the future'. He said: 'The practical approach to this meets the constitutional review now being undertaken by the royal committee I recently tasked to explore possible amendments appropriate for Jordan's present and future...'

"The king's speech comes in the wake of political reform recommendations made June 4 by the 47-member national dialogue committee, comprised of a cross-section of society, created in March.

"The proposed reforms would increase the number of parliamentary seats to 130 from 120 and cut the number of people needed to form a political party to 250 from 500, with women making up at least 10 per cent."

I wonder what's in that ellipsis between "parliamentary majority" and "in the future." Whatever the case, it's one thing to make a speech, and quite another to deliver meaningful change. The king is maintaining a paternalistic attitude that does not bode well, and I don't see where the specific reforms get the problem of gerrymandering that is one of the pillars of royal domination.



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