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Amman, Dec 30 (Petra) -- By Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein The Coming Campaign: National lists and candidates across the country have begun their election campaigns for the next Parliament, launching an intense, short election period, in which every day matters, and every citizen matters, because it is your active participation, as citizens, that will breathe life into our democracy.

Candidates are not running for the right to sit in Parliament in Amman and earn personal benefits. They are running to be given a responsibility and a privilege: the national duty of making key choices on some of the most important decisions facing our country, decisions that will impact the future of every Jordanian.

My goal and responsibility within this national course is to encourage debate about our progress as a nation in democratic development. This paper* is part of efforts towards that goal. Today, and in a series of other discussion papers in the next few months, I seek to stimulate debate among citizens about the most important issues we face as a country. A few weeks ago, in an interview with Al-Rai and The Jordan Times newspapers, I outlined in detail my vision for Jordan’s democratic future and the roadmap to get there. Today, I dedicate this paper to share my vision for the principles and values needed to help us progress in our democratisation journey, under our constitutional monarchy.

Now is the time for us to move actively towards key, practical milestones in that journey towards democracy. This election is one of those critical steps and a station on the political reform roadmap. As candidates come to your neighbourhoods over the next several weeks, they will be seeking to win your trust and your vote. But what they need to realize is that they must maintain your trust and honour your vote over the years to come. You have the right and the responsibility, and more importantly a national duty, to engage them in discussion on key issues related to the economy, the country’s reform course and your vision for the future of our beloved Jordan.

It is equally important that you not only engage the candidates, but engage each other, as citizens, on all issues of priority without restrictions – at home, in coffee shops and community halls, in all gatherings and venues. To make democracy work, it is critical that we debate, discuss, and vote on the basis of the positions put forward by the candidates on key issues facing our country, and not on the basis of personalities or affinities related to geography or family.

As groups of citizens – whether in the form of political parties or community groups – we need to embrace political life as a fair and noble competition to generate the best ideas and solutions. No individual or group will get everything it wants. We must strike compromises in order to make the best possible choices in the interest of all Jordanians. The true and decisive test for our nation and our democratisation journey is our ability to triumph together as one family in the face of the challenges that come before us.

Many times – in Jordan as around the world – disagreement, whether personal or political, expresses itself ineffectively in political intransigence, violence, or boycotts, which do not necessarily deliver desired goals. When this happens, it represents a temporary breakdown in democratic practices. This deprives our society of the chance to achieve compromise and consensus, resulting in a setback from which everyone then needs to recover. Democratic practice requires constructive engagement and acceptance of a diversity of opinion.

Creating the right combination of tolerant debate, respectful competition, and informed choice-making is the key foundation of a democratic system, and is essential to moving our country forward into a brighter future all Jordanians deserve.

Our vision for the type of system we are seeking to build is clear, as is the path we need to take. But the journey will be long, there are no shortcuts, and it will not be easy because it requires changing some of our most fundamental practices, chief among them are the way we disagree with each other in the public sphere, and the way we make decisions on the national level.

The ideas outlined above require discussing a set of principles that are essential to developing the right practices for democracy. What we all need to develop, starting with the launch of this new election campaign, are the practices of good citizenship that are the foundations for a vibrant and effective democracy, and to work sincerely to guarantee that these practices become our modus vivendi.

I believe that there are four practices we must each embrace as citizens to help build our democratic system. While we should start adopting these practices as of this election campaign, that is only the beginning. We will continue to practice and develop these principles in our daily lives over the years to come, because these practices are the sine qua nons for democracy.

//Petra// AA More..............................More......................................

30/12/2012 - 01:00:58 AM
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