Jordan Says ‘Yes’ to Reforms and ‘No’ for Change of Regime

The dramatic developments in the region have encouraged opposition figures and others to mount a fierce anti-government campaign demanding the resignation of Samir Rifai’s government and the dissolution of Parliament.

The government resigned. Parliament is still functioning.

More recently, we have seen a new wave of statements demanding reforms and the rooting out of corruption. We support political and economic reforms and we support a crackdown on corruption and corrupt practices. But what was not acceptable was the malicious campaign against Queen Rania. Queen Rania has proven herself to be an excellent ambassador for Jordan in the international arena and her popularity as an educated, well-spoken and elegant woman is a positive reflection of the modern Arab woman.

Such campaigns must not force the government into hasty and ill considered measures just to appease the hostile Pan-Arab media. Jordan is not Tunisia and is not Egypt. Jordan is not ruled by a tyrant like Libya. Jordan’s Parliamentary System is far from perfect but is functioning well under difficult circumstances.

Reforms are urgently needed. To start with; reforming the voting system to reflect more accurately the composition of the population, and ensuring that remote regions and minorities are not disenfranchised. Dissolving Parliament pre-maturely is not a good idea. Once a new voting system is in place, the King will consider dissolution.

A commission of experts can be appointed to examine the voting system and submit its findings and conclusions.

It may be too soon to consider major constitutional changes which may cause upheavals and dislocation in the smooth running of the country.

Regime Change

As far as I know the overwhelming majority of Jordanians don’t want regime change. They would not risk losing the Hashemite Royalty which served Jordan well in the last 90 years. The Monarchy stood the test of time. It weathered all the troubles and tribulations that hit the region and kept Jordan safe.

What kind of alternative regimes are available.

Some would say why we shouldn’t try a republican system. I say fine, look around you at the existing republican regimes in the Arab World and tell me which one is best suited to Jordan (Syria, Libya, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen and Iraq).

The sad fact none of the republican regimes is democratic, none of them is a respecter of human rights, none of them allows freedom of expression. All of them without exception are corrupt abusers of human rights.

The other alternative is a Theocratic Islamic regime. Look again around you, do Jordanians want an Iranian System which kills demonstrators, executes women and allow stoning and amputations. Look at the rule of Islamic Hamas in Gaza, do we want a Hamas type of rule in Jordan, or do we prefer the Sudanese example where women who wear trousers are routinely flogged in public.

In my opinion, a secular tolerant Monarchy is the best option for Jordan. This does not mean neglecting essential reforms.

Some Arab media tried to exaggerate certain incidents here and there hoping to whip up an atmosphere of rebellion but it did not work. The people of Jordan are too smart to be swayed by the media frenzy and the over-rated social networking websites. They value the safety and security of Jordan, there is too much at stake and too much to lose. You only need to look at Somalia, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen to get the picture. The region witnessed wars and upheavals and despite that and due to the wise and astute leadership of the Hashemite Kings, Jordan enjoyed several decades of peace, stability, social cohesions and economic progress. Reforms are needed and must be carried out soon. The Hashemite Monarch must be supported.