BRIDGE for Youth in Jordan and Lebanon

22 December 2010

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation has organised two workshops on Electoral Systems. The first workshop was held in Amman 26-27/11/2010, and the second in Beirut 04-05/12/2010.

Mr Ralf Erbel, Resident Representative in Jordan, and for Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, inaugurated the two workshops in Amman and Beirut. In his opening remarks, Mr Erbel stressed the importance of this workshop in the context of Friedrich Naumann Foundation efforts to contribute to the ongoing debate on political reform in Jordan and Lebanon. He also noted that target audience for the workshop is mainly youth, who have a role to play in engaging with what is happening in their countries in order to able to contribute as active agents for change.

Thirty-nine participants attended the two workshops: Twenty in Amman and nineteen in Beirut. While none of Amman workshop was a member of a political party- they are members of the Free Thought Forum, all the Lebanese counterparts were party members in the Mustagbal and National Liberal parties.

The participants began the two-day course with a session on their expectations from the workshop, facilitators, and organisers. They adopted a code of conduct in a participatory way with the aim of maintaining a positive training environment throughout the workshop.

On day one, the agenda focused on the basic concepts necessary to understand the context in which electoral systems are adopted and work. This included the concept of fairness, the international standards and criteria for free and fair election and the definition of electoral systems and their variables: district magnitude, ballot structure and electoral formula. Then participants explored the electoral systems families and focused on the major systems used in the plurality/majority family.

On day two, the agenda focused on the proportional representation family and mixed system. Then they were asked to advice a reform to the electoral system used in their country.

Two BRIDGE facilitators facilitated the two workshops: Emad Yousef and Ossama Kamel

The two workshops came as a part of the FNF project with the Youth in Jordan and Amman that started in 2007. Along the period of 3 years, the youth groups received in-depth training on: Good Governance, Citizenship and Freedom of Information. Through working groups, the teams have drafted legislative recommendations concerning Good Governance, Citizenship and Freedom of Information. They are now working on the final draft recommendation paper to be presented to Members of Parliament and Decision Makers.


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