Written by Jpolitics Tuesday, 29 May 2012 14:50
AMMAN — The next government is likely to be a parliamentary government, formed by either the winning political parties in national polls or House blocs, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh told party leaders on Tuesday.
At a meeting with members of the coordination committee for opposition parties, the premier said part of his government’s mandate is to pave the way for holding parliamentary polls before the end of the year, on the basis of an elections law that “ensures the maximum level of national consensus”.
He added that the government respects demands by some political powers to withdraw the bill from the Lower House, but stressed that it also respects that the legislature has already launched a debate with the various stakeholders over the draft law, let alone that the time element is crucial.
Following the meeting, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Samih Maaytah urged political powers to open dialogue channels with Parliament and take part in the discussions over the said law.
Regarding municipal elections, which are supposed to be held in September by the latest, Tarawneh said the government has asked the legal opinion of the Law Interpretation Bureau on whether the polls can be delayed since no funds were set aside in the state budget.
The new Municipalities Law, which went into effect in March, stipulates that the executive authority has a six-month deadline to conduct the polls.
If there was no legal excuse to postpone the local elections, Tarawneh said, the government will go ahead, but has first to secure JD90 million in the coming three months, which is the cost of the election process.
According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the premier and opposition leaders — the Islamists did not attend — agreed on two main guidelines for the current stage: coming up with an elections law that meets the acceptance of the majority and addressing the ailing economic situation through measures that do not add to the burdens of the working and middle classes.
The premier agreed with the politicians that the income tax system should be revisited to include progressive taxation, while fees on mining should be raised. The mining levies, said Tarawneh, will be increased in “future deals” with mining companies.
In remarks to The Jordan Times after the meeting, the spokesperson for the National Coalition of Opposition Parties, Akram Homsi, said the umbrella assembly welcomes any effort to initiate constructive dialogue with the government.
“We agreed to meet with the government because we believe that dialogue is the best way to reach common ground and to make the voices and the demands of the public heard by the government directly,” said Homsi, who heads the Jordanian Arab Socialist Baath Party.
During the meeting, he added, opposition party representatives reiterated their rejection of the decision to raise party, stressing that the government should resort to other options such as intensifying its efforts to combat corruption.
“We understand that the government of Tarawneh is a transitional government and has a short and specific mandate. However, we made our position clear to the prime minister regarding the draft political parties and elections laws, that they should be up to the public’s aspirations and consistent with international criteria,” Homsi said.
Homsi stressed that the opposition parties would continue their efforts to defend the public interests as well as the state’s.