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1. Program Overview
Saturday, July 3rd, 2010
Opening Session: Welcome Speech
PD Dr. Martin Beck
Dr. Amira Mustafa
Arab World Center for Democratic Development (UNIHRD)
The Importance and Significance of the Upcoming Elections
Dr. Amjad Al-Shraideh
Judge, North Amman Court
Different Electoral Systems and the Jordanian Regime
Lawyer and Chairman of Mesaq Association for Human Rights
Political Participation of Women and Minorities
Dr. Amjad Al-Shraideh
Richter, North Amman Court
Youth Participation in the Jordanian Elections
Ayoub Mohammed Nammour and Ala’a Burhan Arafat
Sunday, July 4th, 2010
Summary of the previous workshop day
Project Coordinator, Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship
Question and Answer Session
Writer and Journalist
Online Skills of Surveillance
Writer and Journalist
Designing Blogs for Covering the Elections
Attorney at law
How to Design a Blog and Making it Popular
Project Coordinator, Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship
Presentation of the Implementation Plan
Dr. Amira Mustafa
Executive Director, UNIHRD
The Jordanian population is a very young
one: 50% of Jordanians are below the age
of 20. Many young people are very active in
the World Wide Web: Besides social networks
like Facebook and Twitter, blogging
rapidly gained in popularity. However, the
contents which are delivered by blogs differ
a lot. Besides personal blogs, which are the
most common ones, politically motivated
blogs have become increasingly popular.
The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung sees a high
political potential in this new form of political
participation. For this reason KAS Amman
in cooperation with the Arab World
Center for Democratic Development and
Human Rights (UNIHRD) decided to organize
a workshop entitled “Bloggers for elections’
observation” on July 3rd and 4th, 2010.
This topic was chosen because of current
political developments in Jordan: On November
2009, His Majesty King Abdullah II
dissolved the Jordanian parliament. The
transitional government under Prime Minister
Samir Rifai was appointed to create a
new electoral law for the upcoming elections
on November 9th, 2010. The new electoral
law was announced on June 8th, 2010 and
included some modifications of the former
electoral law. Thus, the goal of the conference
was to inform young Jordanian bloggers
about the new electoral law and the
upcoming elections to increase their political
awareness. Therefore, the workshop was
organized to shed light on different aspects
of the electoral law and process. Last but
not least, the workshop was supposed to
teach bloggers how to exercise their democratic
rights of political participation. In addition
to that, the participants learnt how to
design a blog about the upcoming elections
and make it popular. The 35 participants of
different parts of Jordan were chosen because
of their outstanding skills, experiences
and commitment. They were trained
by distinguished experts from different
Dr. Martin Beck, the Resident Representative
of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in
Amman, opened the workshop. In his welcoming
speech he outlined one of the general
goals of the KAS, namely to encourage
the political education of youth and to support
democratic values. The political education
of youth should lead to an increase of
their political awareness, so that they participate
more actively in political processes.
These measures should encourage young
people to participate in politics. Moreover,
Dr. Martin Beck then summarized the main points of the new electoral law. He finished
his welcoming speech by expressing
his pleasure to welcome the experts and
Dr. Amira Mustafa, Chief Executive Officer
of the Arab World Center for Democratic
Development and Human Rights, began her
welcoming speech with an introduction of
her organization. Then she underlined the
important role of the media for democratic
processes. Since bloggers are becoming a
bigger part of the media, it is very important
to train these bloggers in their political
After the welcoming speeches, Dr. Amjad
Al-Shraideh, judge at the North Amman
Court, began the first session of the workshop.
He talked about the importance and
the significance of the upcoming elections.
He began his lecture by underlining the intentions
of His Majesty King Abdullah II to
conduct transparent and fair elections that
reflect the will of the voters. In addition to
that, King Abdullah stressed that the elections
should be held in a climate which is
dominated by decentralization and which
should enhance the political participation of
all members of the Jordanian society, especially
the participation of women in the parliament.
Dr. Amjad Al-Shraideh analyzed
the new electoral law and stressed that
there are obviously huge differences between
the current electoral law and the previous
one. In his point of view, the most
obvious difference is the creation of virtual
districts. While the 2001 temporary electoral
law created 45 districts, the current
electoral law created additionally 108 subareas.
Another crucial difference is the
women quota, which was doubled from six
seats to twelve seats. Moreover the new law
focuses on the abolishment of corruption, so
that intensive penalties will be imposed on
those who committed these crimes. He also
mentioned that the new electoral law is only
a temporal law which has to be confirmed
by the upcoming parliament.
After the lecture, Dr. Amjad Al-Shraideh
discussed the issue of political awareness of
the young generation with the participants.
In his point of view, there is a lack of political
awareness in the Jordanian society in
general, but especially among young people.
Therefore, he underlined the importance
of promoting this awareness through
conferences like this. Besides this it is also
important to inform particularly students
about the candidates, so that they vote for
a candidate who is representing them properly.
The second speaker was the lawyer Rebhi
Etwi, who is the manager of the Mithaq
Center for Development and Human Rights.
He talked about the different electoral systems
and the Jordanian regime. He began
with underlining the crucial meaning of the
voting right and of a parliament which is
representing the peoples’ views. In this context,
he quoted the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, which states in Article 21,
that everyone has the right to take part in
the government of his country, directly or
through freely chosen representatives.
Moreover everyone has the right of equal
access to public service in his or her country.
Additionally, the will of the people shall
be the basis of the authority of government,
expressed in periodic democratic elections.
Subsequently, Mr. Rebhi Etwi also talked
about criteria to assess the electoral system.
He named voters’ representation, the
stability of the government and its efficiency,
the accountability of the government,
the accountability of the elected individuals,
encouraging political parties and
empowering the opposition and the legislative
Furthermore, he introduced a categorization
of electoral systems which consists of three
types: the majority system, the proportional representation system and the mixed system.
91 countries in the world adopted the
majority system for legislative elections, 72
countries the proportional representation
and 30 countries adopted the mixed system.
Referring to the situation in Jordan, Mr.
Rebhi Etwi explained the general electoral
system, which was introduced by royal decree
for the 1993 general elections by His
Majesty King Hussein. He decided to maintain
the multi-member districts, but
changed the law to one where voters could
only choose one candidate in their district.
Thus Jordan adopted the Single Non-
Transferable Vote (SNTV). In the Jordanian
context SNTV is called "one man, one vote",
even though this terminology in other countries
is primarily used to indicate the fundamental
principle of equality between voters
rather than a particular electoral system.
After that, Dr. Amjad Al-Shraideh talked
about the political participation of women
and minorities. He elaborated on the next
elections, which will be held under the new
temporary electoral law, while focusing on
the importance of political parties.
He then focused on the participation of various
parties in the upcoming elections. He
stated that the representation of different
groups (e.g. women, Circassians etc.) has
improved since the introduction of the “one
man-one vote” system. Jordanian Women
were granted the right to vote in 1974.
Since parliament was suspended in the
1970s and 1980s, the first parliamentary
elections in which women voted were held
in 1989. During the second legislative elections
in 1993, two women ran for parliament,
and one, Tujan al-Faysal, won a seat.
The government first introduced a six-seat
women’s quota ahead of the 2003 parliamentary
elections. Four years later, seven
women were elected to the Lower House:
Six via the quota system, and the seventh
through direct elections. Before the quota
was introduced, only two women had ever
served in the Lower House: Tujan al-Faysal
and Nuha Maaytah, who gained a seat
through parliamentary by-elections in 2001.
The first session ended with the lecture of
two young bloggers, who talked about their
experiences. The presentation of Mr. Ayoub
Nammour and Ms. Ala’a Arafat, who
work with the Al-Hayat Center, was about
“Youth Participation in the Jordanian election”.
They were underlining the fact that
the youth represent the majority in Jordan
and are the hope and promise to a new political
age of free elections and civil rights.
They made very clear that the empowerment
of democracy in any community
should be treated as a lifestyle and not just
a concept of thought. The biggest impact of
democracy and its exercise is to assure
freedoms along with spreading awareness
of everyone’s rights and responsibilities.
They showed the participants how to participate
and underlined the importance of
observing elections, encouraging others to
participate in elections, joining a candidate’s
campaign and supporting him and to elect a
The second day of the workshop on July 4th,
2010 focused on different ways of blogging.
It started with Ms. Ala’a Mohammed, who
works at the Arab World Center for Democratic
Development and Human Rights
(UNIHRD). She summarized the previous
workshop day and emphasized the differences
between the new and old electoral
law. In addition to that, she underlined the
importance to include the youth into political
processes, so that young people can
contribute their ideas and thoughts to the
political development in Jordan. She concluded
that the political awareness of bloggers
should be improved to create more
fruitful and useful blogs.
Subsequently Mr. Rouman Hadad discussed
questions and answers with the participants.
The most central questions were
the following: Why do bloggers observe?
Who will they observe? How can they be
neutral in observing? What are the basic
principles for election observation? Mr.
Rouman Hadad discussed these questions
with the participants in an interactive way,
so that the young bloggers could contribute
with their knowledge, experiences and
ideas. He began his session by asking about
the degree of activity of the participants.
This revealed the fact that many of the participants
are very active on their blogs, but
also that some of them have a blog without
working on it that often. He encouraged the
rather passive minority to make use of their
right to express their opinion through their
blogs. In his point of view, it is very important
to ensure the quality of their blogs, by
being well informed about the electoral law,
for instance. He also stressed the need of
political bloggers to know the proper terminology
so that they reach their audience.
After that, he began to discuss the questions
mentioned above. Regarding their
points of view, bloggers observe mainly because
blogs give the opportunity to express
opinions without being restricted. Mr.
Rouman Hadad told the participants that
mainly government officials, citizens and
candidates will be observed. The possibilities
to be neutral while observing was the
issue of the next question, which were discussed
by the participants. According to the
trainer and the participants the neutrality of
the blogs can be guaranteed when the bloggers
inform themselves as well as possible.
He finished by discussing the basic principles
for election observation, namely training,
expertise, neutrality, speed and accuracy.
Mr. Rouman Hadad ended his speech with
lecturing about “Online Skills of Surveillance:
Network Security and Tactical Skills”.
He began with network security by naming
different measures for obtaining network
security, namely determining the geographical
scope of the blogger who is observing,
the networking with other bloggers,
collecting information, direct observation,
gathering different statements and receiving
complaints. Hence, Mr. Rouman Hadad
talked about online skills of surveillance,
namely tactical skills. In his point of view,
blogging is an important tactical skill, which
comprises not only writing, but also polls,
pictures and multimedia.
Regarding network security Mr. Rouman
Hadad’s said that network security can not
be 100% safe. Nevertheless, we should always
aspire to reach this 100% by implementing
some measures that will help making
the network as secure as possible. One
of these measures is to protect the computers
adequately from hackers and from
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), which
is when someone attempts to make a
computer resource unavailable to its
intended users. Thereafter, Mr. Rouman
Hadad pointed out some measures to
reduce the risk of default setting: SSID or
Service Set Identifier, MAC or Address Media
Access Control Address, WEP or Wired
Dr. Sakher Khasawneh lectured on “Designing
Blogs for Covering the Elections”. He
explained that blogging is a means to express
opinions and ideas. The inputs of
blogs vary according to the interests of the
bloggers and according to the means of expression:
writing, graphics, images or video
clips. Regarding the blogging about elections
Dr. Sakher Khasawneh stressed the
needs for a successful blogging: Gathering
all information material and analysis, interviews,
debates, dialogues and investigations,
participating in conferences and
meetings. He reminded the participants that
reporting on the elections is free of charge
within the regular programs or special institutions or private or public audio-visual media.
This makes it very easy to disseminate
information about the elections via media,
for instance printed newspaper and magazines.
Dr. Sakher Khasawneh underlined
also the need of bloggers to work very precisely
to ensure the accuracy of their information
and news before they get published.
For this purpose, the blogger has to take
into account all information and news in an
objective way, without prejudice. In this
context, he mentioned that there are some
aspects to consider regarding the freedom
of opinion and expression. This means
mainly the respect of the rights and reputation
Ms. Ala’a Mohammed focused in her presentation
on how to design a blog and make
it popular by using many different methods.
The most important answer to her question
was accuracy, which means that bloggers
should write about an event immediately
after it happened. Another rule is the use of
a proper language, depending on the target
Dr. Amira Mustafa presented an implementation
plan, after the participants had
learned a lot about blogging and the Jordanian
elections and election law. She suggested
creating now a blog on which every
participant of the conference should contribute.
On this blog they should implement
all information and methods learned in the
two-day workshop so that other young people
in Jordan can benefit from it as well.
The two day workshop covered a very current
issue which is very important to the
future of Jordan’s democracy. It was a
unique chance for young people in Jordan to
be taught by high-ranking and renowned
trainers who are experts in their respective
field and offered the young participants different
perspectives. At the same time, the
experts had the chance to exchange ideas
and discuss issues with youths who are very
active and highly experienced.
The workshop connected two issues, namely
blogging and the upcoming elections, to
create a fruitful discussion with a high potential
to contribute to the democratization
processes in Jordan.
The feedback of the workshop was positive.
The participants and trainers expressed
their interest for follow-up events. Besides,
the plan to work on a shared blog about the
upcoming parliamentary elections in November
2010 will ensure sustainability of
the event. There might be another meeting
held right before the elections to present
the achieved results and to discuss how to
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