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2022.08.24 约旦需要紧急实施改革,而不仅仅是计划改革

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发表于 2022-8-31 18:02:46 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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By Invitation | Jordan
Marwan Muasher argues that Jordan needs to implement reforms urgently—not just plan them
The country’s former deputy prime minister wants rid of patronage and procrastination

Aug 24th 2022

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That jordan teeters on the edge of crisis is a cliché decades old. Yet the combination of political and economic problems the country faces today is without precedent, and the worn tools used to overcome these problems in the past are now inadequate. That matters for the world given that the country is a haven for refugees in a volatile neighbourhood. Jordan needs political dedication to face its challenges and innovative means to overcome them. New plans for political, economic and administrative reform emerged last year, under directives from King Abdullah II, but the question is whether they have any hope of succeeding.

In the past decade Jordan has wrestled with political instability, witnessing countrywide demonstrations in 2011-12 (part of the Arab uprisings sweeping the region at the time) and on several occasions since. The country, home to some 10m people, was hit by the decline in oil prices that began in 2014, and the ensuing loss of Gulf aid. (Jordan is not an oil-producing country, but has historically benefited from grants from Gulf countries’ oil revenues.) It has also suffered because of covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, which have significantly raised food prices, unemployment and debt. The result has been a record general unemployment rate of nearly 25%, a staggering youth unemployment rate of 50%, record public (and publicly guaranteed) gross debt of $50bn, or about 114% of gdp, and an overall decline in remittances. Foreign direct investment has dropped by almost 70% in the past five years.


Traditionally Jordan’s stability has relied on two things: its security services and foreign aid (of which it receives about $4bn a year). The latter has sustained an inefficient system of economic patronage that promised Jordanians jobs—around 40% of workers are employed in the public sector—subsidies, an adequate level of education and decent health-care services. In return citizens accepted a minor role in political decision-making. In Jordan the legislature and judiciary exercise far less authority than the executive branch, and political parties are still extremely weak. But economic and social challenges now mean it is breaking down.

Adding to these troubles, the country contains about 1.4m Syrian refugees and faces security problems on its border with Syria. There is also an Israeli government in power which many Jordanians feel might attempt to solve the Palestinian issue at Jordan’s expense. Some believe Israel may push more Palestinians into Jordan. But Jordan has neither the money nor the water supplies necessary to support them.

The country has faced similar, if lesser, challenges in recent decades. The government’s response before was largely to attempt ad hoc political reform. But it did not alter the basic power structure of the state, and lasted only as long as the pressures existed. Once they abated, the system went back to business as usual. Jordan’s tepid attempts at reform have invariably fizzled out.

A major reason for this is because the ruling elite in the country, including the security services, believe that the status quo, as challenging as it is, is still better than embarking on reforms that might yield unmanageable results. Reformers argue that the status quo is unsustainable, but they have not managed to create a mass movement in support of serious, long-term reform. They want to open up the country’s decision-making, and develop a system of checks and balances that would strengthen the judicial and legislative branches of government relative to the executive.


Jordan’s challenges are too many and too acute to ignore. The king knows that at some point he needs to hand the country to his son in far better shape. A real system of checks and balances is needed, as are electoral laws that will give Jordan a parliamentary system based on political parties and that will fortify the courts against interference. We must move away from a system based on oil and patronage to a productive meritocracy.

To these ends, the king has launched a plan for political reform that promises a party-based political system within ten years, as well as an economic programme that would transform the Jordanian economy. We must diversify into sectors such as tourism and technology. In addition, an administrative reform plan that would restructure and improve Jordan’s decaying public sector has just been announced.

Similar efforts have been made in the past, but have failed during implementation. So Jordanians are sceptical. Change needs to occur throughout society. Take the educational system. It needs to shift its focus from rote-learning to critical thinking and the acceptance of different points of views. Only then will Jordan produce generations employable in the private sector and abroad. Serious institutional support also needs to be given to initiatives for gender equity, such as amending the constitution to explicitly forbid any discrimination based on gender, and removing all discriminatory clauses against women in Jordanian laws. Jordan has a dismal record when it comes to women’s participation in the labour force: just 14% are in paid work. Economic growth will falter if half of the population is being ignored.

For reform to succeed, opposition from old elites must be thwarted. The dearth of trust between the people and the state is huge, and needs to be bridged through a serious, if gradual, shift to open political decision-making in the country. The elites must be convinced that change is not designed to take place at their expense, but for the benefit of all Jordanians. An inclusive national dialogue, under the direction of the king, is needed to arrive at a new social contract among all components of Jordanian society.

The list of needed changes is long. They will not be achieved overnight, and will require sustained political support and proper implementation. For decades, the country has wasted valuable time dithering over reform. If the task today is more difficult because of the late start, it is nevertheless essential for its survival. ■

Marwan Muasher served as Jordan’s deputy prime minister during 2004 and 2005 and as its foreign minister from 2002 to 2004. He is a vice-president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an American research institute.


应邀参加|约旦
马尔万-穆阿舍认为,约旦需要紧急实施改革,而不仅仅是计划改革。
这个国家的前副总理希望摆脱庇护和拖延。

2022年8月24日



约旦在危机边缘徘徊是几十年前的陈词滥调。然而,该国今天所面临的政治和经济问题的组合是没有先例的,而过去用来克服这些问题的破旧工具现在已经不够用了。这对世界来说很重要,因为该国是一个动荡的邻国中的难民庇护所。约旦需要政治献身精神来面对其挑战,需要创新的手段来克服这些挑战。去年,在阿卜杜拉二世国王的指示下,出现了新的政治、经济和行政改革计划,但问题是他们是否有希望成功。

在过去的十年里,约旦一直在与政治不稳定作斗争,在2011-12年(当时席卷该地区的阿拉伯起义的一部分)和此后的一些场合见证了全国性的示威活动。这个拥有约1000万人口的国家受到了2014年开始的油价下跌的打击,以及随之而来的海湾援助的损失。(约旦不是一个产油国,但在历史上一直受益于海湾国家的石油收入拨款)。约旦还因为covid-19和俄乌战争而受到影响,这些因素大大增加了食品价格、失业和债务。其结果是,一般失业率达到创纪录的近25%,青年失业率达到惊人的50%,公共(和公共担保)债务总额达到创纪录的500亿美元,或约占国民生产总值的114%,以及汇款的全面下降。在过去的五年里,外国直接投资下降了近70%。


传统上,约旦的稳定依赖于两件事:其安全服务和外国援助(每年收到约40亿美元)。后者维持了一个低效的经济赞助系统,该系统向约旦人承诺提供工作--大约40%的工人受雇于公共部门--补贴、适当的教育水平和体面的医疗保健服务。作为回报,公民接受了在政治决策中的小角色。在约旦,立法和司法机构行使的权力远远低于行政部门,而且政党的力量仍然极为薄弱。但现在的经济和社会挑战意味着它正在瓦解。

除了这些麻烦之外,这个国家还有大约140万叙利亚难民,并在与叙利亚的边境面临安全问题。还有一个以色列政府在执政,许多约旦人认为它可能试图以约旦为代价解决巴勒斯坦问题。一些人认为,以色列可能会把更多的巴勒斯坦人推向约旦。但约旦既没有钱,也没有必要的水供应来支持他们。

近几十年来,该国也面临着类似的挑战,甚至是较小的挑战。政府之前的反应主要是尝试临时性的政治改革。但这并没有改变国家的基本权力结构,而且只在压力存在的时候持续。一旦压力减弱,这个系统就会恢复正常运转。约旦不温不火的改革尝试无一例外地破灭了。

其中一个主要原因是,包括安全部门在内的该国统治精英们认为,尽管现状具有挑战性,但仍比着手进行可能产生难以控制的结果的改革要好。改革者认为,现状是不可持续的,但他们还没有成功地建立起支持严肃、长期改革的群众运动。他们希望开放国家的决策,并制定一个制衡制度,以加强政府的司法和立法部门相对于行政部门的地位。


约旦的挑战太多,也太尖锐,不容忽视。国王知道,在某些时候,他需要把国家交给他的儿子,而他的状况要好得多。我们需要一个真正的制衡体系,也需要制定选举法,使约旦拥有一个基于政党的议会制度,并加强法院的抗干扰能力。我们必须从一个基于石油和赞助的制度转向一个富有成效的任人唯贤的制度。

为了这些目的,国王推出了一项政治改革计划,承诺在十年内建立一个以政党为基础的政治制度,并推出一项经济计划,以改变约旦的经济。我们必须实现多样化,进入旅游和技术等部门。此外,刚刚宣布了一项行政改革计划,该计划将重组和改善约旦腐朽的公共部门。

过去也做过类似的努力,但在实施过程中都失败了。所以约旦人持怀疑态度。变革需要在整个社会发生。以教育系统为例。它需要将重点从死记硬背转移到批判性思维和接受不同观点上。只有这样,约旦才能培养出能在私营部门和国外就业的一代。还需要对性别平等的举措给予认真的机构支持,例如修改宪法,明确禁止任何基于性别的歧视,并删除约旦法律中所有针对妇女的歧视性条款。在妇女参与劳动力方面,约旦的记录令人沮丧:只有14%的人从事有偿工作。如果一半的人口被忽视,经济增长就会停滞不前。

要使改革成功,必须挫败来自旧有精英的反对。人民和国家之间的信任缺失是巨大的,需要通过一个严肃的,即使是渐进的,向国家开放政治决策的转变来弥补。必须让精英们相信,变革的目的不是以他们为代价,而是为了所有约旦人的利益。在国王的指导下,需要一个包容性的全国对话,以便在约旦社会的所有组成部分之间达成一个新的社会契约。

需要改变的清单是很长的。它们不会在一夜之间实现,而且需要持续的政治支持和适当的实施。几十年来,约旦已经浪费了宝贵的时间在改革上犹豫不决。如果说今天的任务因为起步较晚而变得更加困难,那么它对国家的生存是至关重要的。■

Marwan Muasher在2004年和2005年期间担任约旦副首相,在2002年至2004年期间担任约旦外交部长。他是美国研究机构卡内基国际和平基金会的副主席。
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