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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King urges youth to seize historic opportunity, make sure their voice is heard
Amman, 7 November 2012

His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday stressed the significance of the youth’s contribution to Jordan’s comprehensive reform process, and urged young Jordanians to seize the historical moment to institutionalise their action in a way that serves their interests and achieves their goal of building the Kingdom’s future and playing an important role in the decision-making process.
During a meeting with a group of youth activists from various political orientations and backgrounds, King Abdullah said he supported any effort that would empower youths and enable them to actively participate in shaping national decisions.
In a very interactive discussion with participants, the King emphasised that the upcoming elections are a milestone on Jordan’s path to reforms and all, including the youth, should seize this opportunity and build on it.
“Your voice is heard, your opinion is important, and your role is essential,” His Majesty said. He assured them that the polls will be free and fair. Any interference in the upcoming elections is “wholeheartedly rejected, and I will deal with whomever tampers with it,” His Majesty added.
“It is your voice that will enable you to institutionalise political participation after you become knowledgeable of the programmes that candidates present to address the challenges the country is facing… You should hold candidates, deputies and the government, accountable.”
His Majesty voiced support for the youth and their influential role in all sectors, noting that they can make a difference on issues related to job creation and socio-economic development.
The King urged concerned government organisations and civil society institutions to engage youths in discussions on various national issues, and allow them to access information to make them true partners in the comprehensive reform process.
“You are 70 per cent of Jordanian society, and you have a considerable weight,” said His Majesty, stressing the importance of bridging the communication gap with youths and reiterating the important role constructive popular movements play in advancing reform.
Addressing participants’ complaints that existing political parties do not meet their ambitions and standards, the King advised young men and women to thoroughly assess parties and candidates as the first step to “develop the concepts of right, left and centre” in partisan life and come up with their own criteria for the parties they want to represent them.
Voicing optimism that “our future will be better thanks to the hard work of our youth,” His Majesty said: “Your voice is a key factor that will influence the outcome of the upcoming elections. I support you enthusiastically and wholeheartedly.”
The King criticised the traditional way of thinking some embrace as they discuss the future, voicing hope that the youth will be able to offer new visions that aptly respond to the challenges and ask the right questions in conversations with candidates.
“The Arab Spring gave us a good opportunity to go ahead with reforms, and everyone should participate in this,” said His Majesty, pointing out that the constitutional amendments were only the beginning and that further reform will follow, based on consensus and democratic practices.
The King reiterated his “keenness” to develop Jordan’s constitutional monarchy to always be a role model in the region.
During the meeting, His Majesty pointed to the Governorates Development Fund and the important role it will play in the near future in creating jobs and combating unemployment and poverty.
The King said that those who try to manipulate the political scene “are the same who opposed the participation of women and youths in political life.” His Majesty reaffirmed that everyone should put national interests before their personal interests and private agendas.
The King called on social media to report events truthfully and transparently and urged further investments in new communications tools. Social media can play a role in motivating youth to participate in the political process and in preserving Jordan’s reputation and its ability to attract investments that create job opportunities for the youth and achieve comprehensive development in the governorates.
 “We now live in what is called the Arab Spring. After the parliamentary elections, it will be the Arab Summer,” he said.
The King reiterated that candidates running on the national list must include all spectra of Jordanian society from different governorates around the Kingdom.

Participants praised His Majesty’s constant focus on Jordanian youth, and that he listens to their ideas and views. They pointed to the need to tackle unemployment and create development projects. Talking about political parties, they described some of them as hostages to one individual, others as lacking clear programmes, others yet as old fashioned, and finally spoke against political money.
The suggested the creation of a Parliamentary youth committee.
Participants underlined the significance of the Independent Elections Commission and Constitutional Court.
They said development gains should be fairly distributed among the governorates, and job-generating projects for the youth should be implemented under the Governorates Development Fund and other governmental programmes.
Among the suggestions presented during the meeting was the launch of a document on the standards of a good candidate and the organisation of discussions between the youth and candidates.
The youth called for continuous development of legislation to keep up with the development in the information technology sector and globalisation.

The meeting was attended by Royal Court Chief Riyadh Abu Karaki and His Majesty’s Office Director Imad Fakhoury.