Exchanging Experiences Among Young Parliamentarians Across the Arab World - Foundation Office Jordan
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Al-Quds Center for Political Studies and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation-Jordan Office jointly organized a parliamentary ‘experience-exchange’ workshop in mid-October 2021, in which experts and young parliamentarians from five Arab countries-namely Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Bahrain and Iraq participated. The two-day workshop at the Dead Sea included five-sessions, whereby participants addressed a number of fundamental topics on which parliamentary work is based and discussed the most effective, global practices to develop the performance of their own home countries’ parliament. Concerning the Hashemite Kingdom, this workshop comes in light of the new recommendations and bills established by the Royal Jordanian Committee which aims to modernize the political system in Jordan and ensure a more gender inclusive participation and representation. Subsequently, a number of Jordanian youth leaders also participated in this event, in preparing for taking part in future elections.
The workshop tackled several important subjects such as parliamentary transparency and the experience of open parliaments. What’s more, participants assessed the principles of the parliamentary code of conduct. The participants recommended the need for adopting parliamentary codes of conduct that are aligned with international standards – whether that is through integrating these codes through the parliamentary internal system or establishing a separate code for this purpose. Additionally, the young parliamentarians had the opportunity to share comparative experiences between the internal systems of the five Arab parliaments. Even if the context of each country is of course different, exchanging such experiences is fruitful as they highlight and provide consensus on key issues important for political and democratic reform, according to the feedback of the participants.
In view of the new recommendations made by the Royal Jordanian Committee to further integrate political parties and establish the crucial link between a strong party system and a functional parliament, the workshop dedicated a special session in which it presented the most prominent experiences of integrating and empowering opposition parties in Arab parliaments. Through this session, the participants reviewed the most important constitutional and legislative mechanisms that enable the opposition in performing its roles. It was clear through the rich discussions that took place in the workshop, that Arab parliaments should activate their role, even when it comes to oversight of the government. Other recommendations made by the participants included strengthening the role of parliamentary blocs; institutionalizing them and ensuring their representation in the various parliamentary committees, with a preference for adopting the principle of proportional representation to achieve this.