AMMAN — An online petition seeks to revoke the Cabinet’s recent decision to appoint relatives of lawmakers at the Lower House due to its violation of social justice principles.
The move is aimed at putting a stop to hiring based on nepotism, and it advocates merit-based selection and processing of job applications, said Omar Razzaz, one of those behind the initiative.
A document listing 109 people recently appointed at the Lower House showed that 15 of them are sons of MPs while the majority of the others are relatives of lawmakers.
The list was approved “reluctantly” by the Cabinet earlier this month, as pointed out by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, and was the substance of bickering between the premier and Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh.
The petition, launched by a coalition of individuals and non-governmental organisations since the beginning of the exchange between the Cabinet and the Lower House, had been signed by over 360 citizens and civil society organisations by Tuesday noon.
“The petition is a call for ending such practices and reversing the recent decision, but most importantly it seeks to raise awareness that civil society is not absent,” Razzaz, who chairs the Privatisation Evaluation Committee, told The Jordan Times over the phone on Tuesday.
He added that the call that the petition is making proves that civil society expresses its voice not only on elections day, but on a regular basis and on several policy issues.
Meanwhile, he noted that the petition, which will not be addressed to any authority, is not against Ensour or Tarawneh in person, but targets the “ongoing” practices and culture that led to the appointment decision.
The petition criticises the “collusion” between legislative and executive authorities in a “flagrant” violation of governance, transparency and accountability.
The appointments, it says, violate the separation of as it puts the exchange of personal benefits between the two authorities before the public good and shakes citizens’ trust in them.
As citizens and civil society organisations oversee the performance of all authorities, they must “positively take part” in the protest against the appointments, which were an exception to the regulations that require appointments to go through the Civil Service Bureau in order to preserve the rights of job seekers.
Israa Mahadin, who signed the petition, posted on social media that the appointment decision is against equal opportunities and human rights, specially the right to work.
Samer Goussous commented: “We want to stop corruption and Parliament is not above the law.”
The petition is available on change.org.
Last week, Advocate Moayad Majali filed a complaint against Ensour and Tarawneh before the Anti-Corruption Commission in protest against the same issue.