Jordan's PM wins vote of confidence
The government on Tuesday won the vote of confidence of the Parliament with a majority of 82 out of the 149 deputies present.
The voting process took place immediately after Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour delivered his response to the deputies’ remarks that were made over the government policy statement and a four-year programme.
A total of 66 deputies voted “nay” while one MP was absent.
In his remarks, the premier responded to the majority of the MPs’ demands and points of criticism, acknowledging that people have lost trust in governments due to their failure to achieve justice and equal opportunity.
He pledged that his government will work hard to restore the people confidence through its programme.
Ensour, who took the podium for few minutes prior to the vote of confidence, said his consultations with the MPs over the formation of his team was a “serious” process and he was not trying to practise any sort of “political manoeuvres”.
He said after the conclusion of the consultations with deputies, the MPs proposed certain names from the Lower House to join the 18-member Cabinet, the smallest in decades.
A parliamentary government with lawmakers on board is “inevitable”, he said, noting that he would make a reshuffle of the Cabinet to include certain deputies but such a move must be part of an “institutionalised process”.
“It is not true that I was not taking the deputies seriously… I respect each and every one of the Lower House members, who represent a constitutional pillar of our political system,” Ensour said during his speech.
He pledged to launch a political dialogue over reform-related legislation, including the elections and the political parties laws.
He announced that the government would not spare any effort, “ be it legal or diplomatic”, to restore the people’s rights in all the country’s assets, including the phosphate company amongst other projects and investments, referring to previously state-owned and run establishments that were sold wholly or partly to private investors.
He announced that the government would refer the multimillion “Socio-Economic Transformation Plan” file to the concerned authorities to investigate alleged corruption practices in it.
The plan, which was implemented a decade ago, was funded with privatisation revenues, with critics insisting that it involved mismanagement and corruption.
He pledged to consult with deputies before deciding to increase prices of electricity, saying: “We will not make such a move unless we have exhausted all other options under your oversight,” noting that the state-run National Electric Power Company suffers an annual loss of around JD1.25 billion due to electricity subsidies, and a solution is needed. If this deficit is not addressed, “we will find ourselves forced to take harsh measures including scheduled power cuts, a stage we do not want to reach,” Ensour said.
Bread prices will remain the same, Ensour said, adding that the government is studying a “smart card” solution as a mean to provide the underprivileged with direct support, ensuring that government subsidies reach only those who deserve them.
The premier added that the government would respond to deputies’ demands for their districts “based on the available resources”.
He promised to combat corruption by all legal means, indicating that more corruption files are under investigation.
Investment expenditures will witness a major increase in the next seven years, as the government has already designed dozens of projects in various sectors to stimulate the national economy.
These projects are financed through a $5-billion fund set up by the Gulf Cooperation Council to support Jordan’s development plans and would not add any further burden on the Treasury.
He expected that such funds will create an “economic revolution” in Jordan, and will put the economy back on the right track.
Appointments in top public posts, including ministries’ secretaries general, will be subject to a fair and competitive selection process that ensures equal opportunity.
By Khaled Neimat