Controversy continues in Jordan over the fate of the parliamentary elections, will they be held on the date set for the tenth of next month, or will they be postponed to a later date provided that it is before January 27, 2021 as a constitutional entitlement, otherwise the dissolved 18 House of Representatives will return to hold a regular session, According to the provisions of the constitution.
Despite the near date of the elections, the seriousness of the epidemiological situation, and fears of a second wave of Corona in Jordan threaten the constitutional elections, especially with rumors circulating about changing the polling date after the final approval of the lists and candidates at the Kingdom level.
The holding of parliamentary elections is the most prominent challenge facing the new government of Bishr Al-Khasawneh, which was formed yesterday, after the issuance of a royal decree approving its formation, and included 31 ministers, including 8 from the government of Razzaz’s successor.
No one has the authority to delay
King Abdullah II – in his book assigning to the new government of Bishr Al-Khasawneh – directed the government and all state institutions to support the work of the Independent Election Commission and provide it with all means to ensure the conduct of fair and transparent elections worthy of Jordan’s reputation and its democratic process, and to take all necessary precautions and measures to protect the health of citizens The next period and during the voting process, without any talk of changing the election date.
Constitutional expert Laith Nasraween told Al-Jazeera Net, “The Jordanian constitution does not grant any party the right to postpone the parliamentary elections, until His Majesty the King. The amendments to the constitution in 2011 nullified the king’s powers to postpone elections, by canceling the fourth paragraph of Article 73 of the constitution.”
Whereas, there is a text in the Independent Commission’s law – as Nasraween adds – “It gives the Board of Commissioners the right to change the polling time for some electoral districts. Indeed, I believe that the text gives the Independent Commission the right to change the election date for all electoral districts.”
But in all cases, the new parliament must be formed before the date of January 27, 2021, because the Jordanian king issued a royal decree to dissolve the parliament on September 27, 2020, and the constitution stipulates that elections and a new parliament must be held within 4 months from the date of the dissolution of the parliament. Representatives, otherwise the dissolved parliament has the right to return to work in a normal session of 6 months.
Regarding the government’s powers to postpone or change the date of the elections, Nasraween said that the government does not have any powers in the stages of the parliamentary elections, and all the powers of administration and supervision are in the hands of the Independent Electoral Commission, and the government only provides the necessary support for the electoral process.
He added, “In the event that the Independent Commission decides to move the election date, all stages of the electoral process that were conducted are legal and not repeated, and will be completed from where they left off, and we are currently in the stage of finalizing the candidate lists.”
The Authority’s right to change the date
The Independent Election Commission is proceeding until the moment through the stages of the electoral process without any delay or change in its date, according to Jihad Al-Momani, the media spokesman for the parliamentary elections, in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net.
Momani added that the Independent Electoral Commission has the right and authority to determine the date of holding parliamentary elections within the legal period specified by 4 months, which is granted to the commission in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
He mentioned that the commission has set the date of the tenth of next month for the holding of parliamentary elections, and if there is a health reason or an obstacle to holding the elections on the specified date, the Board of Commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission has the right to change the date to another date, but on condition that it does not exceed the date of January 27. 2021, because exceeding this date allows the 18 dissolved parliament to return to work in a normal session, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
According to Momani, the commission’s decision up to this point to hold parliamentary elections on the specified date next month, and any change in the epidemiological situation calls for changing the election date, it will be done through coordination between the Commission’s Board of Commissioners and the responsible health and official authorities.