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Back Door Democratization? Apolitical Associations in the Middle East
Unformatted Document Text:  14 Jordanian government shut down the Jordanian Society for Citizen’s Rights for violating Law 33. This was the first NGO to be closed by the government since 1989. 32 Despite the legal limitations, professional associations in Jordan have been thriving since 1950s. According to the Jordanian National Center for Human Rights, there are professional associations for virtually all professions in Jordan however it is illegal for teachers, (who account for 50% of public sector employees) to form a trade union or professional associations. 33 Professional associations in Jordan have a total membership of around 150,000 members and along with individual professional syndicates, there is an active umbrella organization representing all the professional organizations. Membership in professional associations is mandatory for people engaged in these professions. 34 Political parties do exist in Jordan but are undoubtedly weak both by legal standards and by perceived effectiveness. A survey conducted by the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan found that more than 90% of respondents do not consider the existing political parties to represent their aspirations. 53.5% of respondents reported that the parties only serve the interests of their leaders, while only 13.8% said the parties serve the people’s interests. 35 And according to the Arab Barometer Survey, only 59% of Jordanians voted in last election and only 58% of survey respondents believe that the government should make laws according to the wishes of the people. 36 Nevertheless, Jordanians seem to want democracy. The Arab Barometer Survey found 32 “Jordan: Right to Freedom of Expression and Association Denied,” Amnesty International, http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE160202002?open&of=ENG-JOR. 33 Ibid. 34 “Human Rights Status Report 2005,” The National Centre for Human Rights, http://www.nchr.org.jo/pages.php?menu_id=&local_type=5&local_id=9&local_details=1&local_details1=&localsite_branchname=NCHR#associate. 35 Ibid. 36 Amaney Jamal and Mark Tessler, “Attitudes in the Arab World,” Journal of Democracy 19, no. 1 (2008).

Authors: Yerkes, Sarah.
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14
Jordanian government shut down the Jordanian Society for Citizen’s Rights for violating
Law 33. This was the first NGO to be closed by the government since 1989.
32
Despite the legal limitations, professional associations in Jordan have been
thriving since 1950s. According to the Jordanian National Center for Human Rights,
there are professional associations for virtually all professions in Jordan however it is
illegal for teachers, (who account for 50% of public sector employees) to form a trade
union or professional associations.
33
Professional associations in Jordan have a total
membership of around 150,000 members and along with individual professional
syndicates, there is an active umbrella organization representing all the professional
organizations. Membership in professional associations is mandatory for people engaged
in these professions.
34
Political parties do exist in Jordan but are undoubtedly weak both by legal
standards and by perceived effectiveness. A survey conducted by the Center for Strategic
Studies at the University of Jordan found that more than 90% of respondents do not
consider the existing political parties to represent their aspirations. 53.5% of respondents
reported that the parties only serve the interests of their leaders, while only 13.8% said
the parties serve the people’s interests.
35
And according to the Arab Barometer Survey,
only 59% of Jordanians voted in last election and only 58% of survey respondents believe
that the government should make laws according to the wishes of the people.
36
Nevertheless, Jordanians seem to want democracy. The Arab Barometer Survey found
32
“Jordan: Right to Freedom of Expression and Association Denied,” Amnesty International,
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE160202002?open&of=ENG-JOR.
33
Ibid.
34
“Human Rights Status Report 2005,” The National Centre for Human Rights,
http://www.nchr.org.jo/pages.php?menu_id=&local_type=5&local_id=9&local_details=1&local_details1=
&localsite_branchname=NCHR#associate.
35
Ibid.
36
Amaney Jamal and Mark Tessler, “Attitudes in the Arab World,” Journal of Democracy 19, no. 1 (2008).


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