By Amer Al Sabaileh
After several weeks of consultation and new rituals, the new Jordanian government appeared. The shape of this new government suggests some serious issues, one of them being the lack of any clear agenda due to some merged ministries. This demonstrates a lack of real intention to have any kind of change from the old style of government, with no opposition figures, no Islamists and no reformists.
Actually, this new government looks more than ever like a “short-term government.” The prime minister adopted the tactic of “unifying ministries” to be used later as a bargaining tool with the House of Representatives. The major challenge of this government is to meet the high expectations of the Jordanian people. It is supposed to be a long-term government, but unfortunately, it does not look that way. It indicates the increasing difficulty in building a government for the longer term.
Many observers believe that most of the ministers were asked to join the government team one day before the announcement of the new government. Several deputies have confirmed that most of the names of the ministers were not mentioned during the consultations; in yet another indication of a lack of any clear political agenda and a government designed to get through this impasse for the short term.
The Jordanian state is built on a deeply bureaucratic system, where ministries are based on the image and personality of the minister, where the loss of a minister would affect the productivity and the functional systems of the whole ministry.
What are the reasons behind the incorporation of Ministries of Tourism and Planning? What about the Ministry of Industry and Commerce gaining Communication beside the newly minted “Supply Ministry”? The combination of the Ministries of Labor and Transportation, or the addition of Agriculture to the Ministry of Water Supply? All these indicate that this government can be seen as a short-term government.
Now, after the announcement of this government, it is the decision of the Parliament to exercise their policy-setting function. The new government will go through a tough exam before it begins to govern as a motion of confidence might not be an easy motion to pass. Moreover, there are some who believe that a no confidence motion would be a good start for both of the new parliament and Jordanian state. The parliament would confirm its independency, while for the state it will give a clear sign of the birth of a new era where authorities are completely autonomous.
Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh