Decentralization in Jordan
Participants chose “Building Youth Leadership to Participate in Municipal and Provincial Council Elections” as 2017’s theme in an effort to galvanize youth leaders ahead of Jordan’s local elections, which were held throughout the country on August 15, 2017. Until then, Jordan had a centralized government in which its capital, Amman, held complete political power. The redistribution of power began in 2015 with the passage of the Decentralization Law and the Municipalities Law. The former created provincial administrations and the latter gave the Jordanian people the power to elect municipal councils and mayors, which were positions previously appointed by the cabinet in Jordan.
In the buildup to the elections, there was some confusion about whether the elections were worth voting in and how the decentralized administrations would function. The government led a small information drive touting the elections as the first opportunity for citizens to vote directly for local officials. Jordanian civil society made significant contributions to the municipal election get-out-the-vote campaign with events like the Youth and Technology Conference.