AMMAN (Petra) –– The lawmakers' handling of a shooting incident inside the parliament building last week is a turning point in the Kingdom's parliamentary march, Lower House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour said on Saturday.
The House on Tuesday voted to sack MP Talal Al-Sharif after he fired shots from an AK-47 rifle at fellow lawmaker, Qusay Al-Dmeisi, who was suspended for one year as a disciplinary measure following a brawl that triggered the shooting.
Srour called it "a security breach", adding that lawmakers had acted promptly and quietly, "which underlined the strength and cohesion of the parliamentary institution." He said certain persons should be held to account for allowing an MP to "walk all that distance with an automatic weapon and make it to the chamber." "The House has triumphed to the Jordanian legislative and parliamentary process and its future, and was keen to block any attempt to blemish this praiseworthy institution which brought under its umbrella national symbols that served the country with utmost sincerity and dedication," he told Petra's Director General Faisal Shboul and editorial staff.
Srour said all MPs were unanimous on rejection of "the unprecedented" incident and addressing it according to the law and the constitution without abusing parliamentary functions, noting that the legislature had managed to restore its prestige and emerge stronger.
He also said that Jordan had "wisely" dealt with change in the region over the past three years, giving space to its citizens to freely express their opinions, but added "some had got the message wrong" "Those thought that the space of freedom means taking the law into their hands or act above the law, leading to some breaches of the law and assaulting people's rights and property," he said, pinning the blame on law enforcement agencies "that had turned a blind eye, in many instances, to such practices".
Srour said the seventh Jordanian parliament took over at a time of popular movement and a rush for change and reform, which gave impetus and a desire to expedite change as the legislative authority endeavored for quiet and thorough achievement to avoid errors.
"At the outset, the House absorbed some of the behaviors by a limited number of deputies that it does not endorse, and the aim was to give them room for more amity and to come to terms with parliamentary norms and modus operandi," he said.
He said a House committee had completed a code of conduct that will be incorporated into the legislature's by-laws currently being debated to upgrade parliamentary life and "avoid loopholes and weaknesses".
Srour also said that by-elections will be held at the Amman First District to fill the seat left vacant by Sharif's dismissal and also in the Southern Jordan Valley District whose seat became vacant by the recent death of MP Mahmoud Hweimel.