Peer-review of Jordanian local administration law

Project Active from to State Effectiveness and State

The Draft Local Administration Law for 2019 (the Draft Law) is intended to replace the Law on Decentralisation (Law No. 49 of 2015) and the Law on Municipalities (Law No. 41 of 2015). In this regard, it combines the provisions of the previous two laws with respect to governorates, municipal councils, and local councils. It also places responsibility for the Draft Law under a new Ministry of Local Administration and sets out provisions for municipal restructuring, finance, and inter-jurisdictional cooperation.

The Draft Law does not have a general preamble to describe its purpose or the relationship among the various sub-national governing entities outlined. For this reason, it is difficult for readers to understand how they should interpret the law.

One purpose of the Draft Law might be to reduce duplication between the roles and responsibilities of governorates, municipalities, and local councils. The roles and responsibilities of each of these sub-national entities were not clearly defined in previous legislation, resulting in considerable overlap.

Another purpose is to promote greater decentralisation in Jordan, defined as empowerment of local populations by empowering their elected local governments (Bahl and Bird 2018). The Law on Decentralisation of 2015 was originally enacted to introduce a new level of decision-making at the governorate level with a view to promoting more citizen participation. It was recognised, at the time, however, that decentralisation would have to be phased in over many years.

Therefore, the researchers' review aims to evaluate the extent to which the Draft Law clarifies the roles and responsibilities of governorates, municipal councils, and local councils, as well as whether it furthers the goals of decentralisation.