Press release

Jordan: Parliament Would Not Guarantee Seats for Women in Decentralization Process


In response to Jordan’s Lower House of Parliament passing a decentralization measure that no longer assures roles for women in local governing councils and allows the government to appoint 25 percent of seats, Freedom House released the following statement:

“This law utterly fails to empower Jordanian citizens, especially women, to decide the future of their country,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa. “It falls woefully short of the goals of the government reform process which is to devolve authority. Jordan’s Senate and King Abdullah should insist on revisions that deepen democracy in the country.”

In an effort to promote democratic reform, King Abdullah has proposed “decentralization” measures that would transfer power to local elected councils and municipalities. A draft version of the decentralization law was passed on Sunday, August 23, lacking a requirement that women be guaranteed 15 percent of the seats in local councils. The bill as passed allows the government to appoint up to 25 percent of the councils. The measure now goes to Senate, whose members are appointed by the king. 

Jordan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014