Towards a culture of open and democratic local governance in Jordan: Living diverse forms of democracy

By virtue of its smaller size and the proximity of policy makers and citizens, local governance can offer greater prospects for the use of direct and representative democracy, as well as a more direct participative democracy (Cretu and Cretu, 2014). Local democracy cannot and should not be narrowed down to casting a ballot on election day. As such, the subnational level offers the potential for new and innovative forms of engaging citizens and strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms (OECD, 2016a).

The creation of elected governorate and local councils in Jordan, the institutional centrepiece of the reform process, provides a new momentum to strengthen local democracy in its various forms (e.g. representative, deliberative and direct forms of engagement), and increase the performance of local government. It also holds the potential of creating a shared sense of responsibility among citizens for the development of their community, and increases the legitimacy of otherwise contested political decisions in a context of scarce resources (e.g. urban planning).

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