By: Rahma Haggag
A fight erupted on Tuesday in the Jordanian Parliament during a live-streamed debate about constitutional reforms.
This session was held to discuss some constitutional reforms before 2021 ends, and it was broadcast live on “Al-Mamlaka” television channel. The argument began when several deputies suggested adding the Arabic female pronoun for the Jordanian citizens into the constitution’s section on equal rights.
This suggestion does not mean that Jordanian women do not have equal rights as same as men. Jordanian women currently enjoy equal rights in political participation, employment, education and healthcare but do not have the same rights when it comes to nationality and citizenship as men. For example, women cannot pass their nationality to their children but men can.
The conflict happened when the MPs shouted the word “useless” referring to the previous suggestion, during the debate in the House of Representatives in Jordan’s capital Amman.
This 60-minute video shows the Jordanian MPs punching each other and exchanging several insults.
Furthermore, another argument started between Deputy Suleiman Abu Yahya and Parliament House Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi which exacerbated the whole situation. Mr. Abu Yahya impeached Mr. Dughmi for being “unable to run the show” and said that he knew “nothing”. Mr. Dughmi replied to him saying “Shut up and leave the hall”.
No one was injured in this fight that began after the refusal of a member to apologize over unwarranted remarks during the session. Mr. Dughmi then decided to suspend the session for 30 minutes to calm the deputies, but the arguments continued once the session was reconvened. Mr. Dughmi then decided to postpone the session after the fights kept on breaking out.
Moreover, Reem Abu Hassan, an agent who served on a royal committee tasked to modernize the constitution, said that the current constitution’s wording maintains written Arabic traditions from the 1950s when masculine phrases were used to refer to groupings of individuals.
She added, “We thought that it was time that the constitution of the country should refer to a woman in a very clear manner”.