Jordanian Political Parties Put Economic Reform on the Agenda
Amman, Jordan — Ten Jordanian political parties have formulated an economic vision and specific reform agenda, many for the first time, at a series of workshops convened by CIPE partner Al-Quds Center for Political Studies. At the final workshop on August 15-16, 2008, the parties presented their agendas to each other, allowing for the exchange and debate of ideas from perspectives all across the political spectrum. Including members of the Jordanian Parliament, the workshops were an opportunity for the political representatives to address needs within their own parties, and in so doing articulate effective and sustainable economic policy agendas.
The workshop series was reinvigorated in March 2008 with an exhortation from the Jordan Investment Board Chief Executive Officer Dr. Maen Nsour to put licensing, the simplification of business start-up procedures, and tax reform on the political agenda. Dr. Nsour indicated that while Jordan has been successful in attracting investment generally, the country must work to create a more favorable business environment.
“The participation of the political parties in the economic reform process guarantees more acceptance and a higher success in implementation. It also contributes to transparency. Their participation reinvigorates the economic perspective of democracy.”
Dr. Ihab Magableh, Chairman of the Department of Economics, The Hashemite University
Two workshops in the summer of 2008 examined how political parties and other institutions can (and should) tackle these important economic issues. Guest speakers provided a regional perspective on socio-economic issues within their countries and how these challenges were tackled through party platforms. Dr. Abdul Hamid Awwad, a member of the Executive Committee of the Independence Party in Morocco (currently the party of the Prime Minister) shared his experiences as a member of an influential political party. Dr. Cuneyt Yuksel, a member of the Turkish Parliament and Deputy Chairman of Economic Affairs and Political and Legal Affairs Departments in the Justice and Development Party, shared his perspectives as a member of the party that has pushed for Turkey’s accession into the European Union.
The workshops raised interest and awareness of economic issues among Jordan’s political parties, and have contributed to changing the parties’ attitudes toward reform as well as giving them concrete economic tools to assess needs and solutions. Moreover, a number of parties have established special economic departments. To continue the dialogue between political parties, the private sector, academia, the media, and broader civil society, Al-Quds has established a Policy Forum to serve as an umbrella organization for the joint activities of these stakeholders. The forum is a platform for democratic discourse, strengthening informed economic policy in Jordan. ♦