The Jordan Times
AMMAN — Lawmakers on Sunday approved the Municipalities Law during a Lower House legislative session, despite MPs’ disagreement over the urgency regarding the passing of the law.
MPs were divided between those supporting urgent legislative action, and those who recommended referring the law to a specialised committee for further discussion.
Referring to the upcoming municipal and local elections, to be held on August 15, MP Khaled Bakkar (Irbid, 4th District) argued that “we cannot postpone voting on this law”.
Raed Khazaaleh (Mafraq) disagreed, saying “I do not see a problem if such an important matter is referred to a specialised committee for further study and discussion.”
Amman’s 4th District MP, Ahmad Riqib, claimed that the failure to provide MPs with a hardcopy of the law meant it was impossible to vote, asking: “How can we discuss a law that we do not possess a copy of in our hands?”
Some MPs also criticised the law stating it allows the government to appoint a percentage of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) council members, as well as the head of the municipal council.
Jerash Deputy Wafaa Bani Mustafa asked ”Why should we deprive Amman residents from electing all members of the GAM council?”
Khaled Awad (Amman, 4th District) criticised the government’s “obvious deficiency” in time management, adding that: “Amman forms more than half of the Kingdom population. It is a big mistake not to give its residents the right to elect the head of municipality.”
Minister of Municipal Affairs, Walid Masri, clarified the issue, saying that GAM is exempted from regulations applicable to other municipalities, explaining that this approach seeks to represent “social minorities”.
“The idea of appointing some of the GAM council members is to represent social minorities who cannot represent themselves in the electoral process”, added Masri.
During the session, lawmakers also approved the referral of the customs bill to a joint committee made up of the Legal Committee and the Economic Committee.
Lawmakers also approved a number of articles in the Civil Aviation Law.
MPs began the session with a minute of silence as a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks that targeted churches in Egypt.
Lower House speaker Atef Tarawneh adjourned the session, marking Tuesday as the date for two legislative sessions.