What the Electricity Price Increase Delay Means for the Election

The government implied once again that it is going to raise electricity prices, it just won’t happen in the next two weeks before the election. The cabinet stated that both price increases and power cuts are likely to happen, but that the decision to change (code word for “raise”) electricity rates would be made by the next cabinet after the election.

The way Jordan Times reports the decision is revealing. Their article about it says that there were two factors in this decision: “the caretaker government’s limited mandate-namely to oversee the January 23 parliamentary elections,” and “the ongoing impact of a decision to slash energy subsidies.” The decision to eliminate fuel subsidies was, of course, made by the caretaker government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour. That decision triggered widespread protests across Jordan. Yet when that decision was made the government did not consider it outside the scope of its mandate at the time. So what happened?

It seems to me that this decision is yet another act of stalling by a regime that has mastered the art. The Jordan Times article, along with another one that was published on December 28th, all but announces an impending electricity price increase. So why the delay? Most likely its because the regime doesn’t want people protesting a rate increase by boycotting the election. This way the regime will be able to get through the election and avoid the hard decisions about political reform that much longer.

Where have we seen this before?

One thought on “What the Electricity Price Increase Delay Means for the Election

  1. The IAF is boycotting the election, they’re people too. What I’d like to see you do is tell us who the regime does NOT want to boycott the election. We saw his majesty sit-down with the leftist a few weeks ago and let them yell at him. Does the regime care if they boycott? What about Palestinian East Bankers, does the regime care if they boycott? What about people in Ma’an or Kerak? Turn out for the election is basically a function of vote buying and patronage seeking now. The new “national” seats will not go to new parties or herak candidates but rather those rich enough to pay for national advertising campaigns.

    But the electricity, maybe it’s not about the election at all. Maybe the King has decided to end all liberalization because he is afraid of his half-brother taking the throne. Does anyone even know how much control he had over the fuel price increase? And I want to plant a seed of doubt that was given to me by a professor. Do we know if the price increase was an end to a subsidy or was it actually an increase above market price to subsidize fuel for industrial energy consumers?

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