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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

Speech from the Throne lays out blueprint for democratic transformation
Amman, 10 February 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah outlined the blueprint for the next phase of comprehensive reforms in his Speech from the Throne on Sunday, which inaugurated the first non-ordinary session of the 17th Parliament.

King Abdullah outlined the principles of further reform, including separation and balance of powers and preventing the encroachment of one branch of government over the other.

 “As we pass through a decisive transitional period that requires us to update the way government and legislature work, we have to underline a set of principles and national priorities that we have reached through the evaluation of previous governments’ performances and outreach to all pillars of the state and segments of society.”

His Majesty delved into the formation of the new government, emphasising that it will emerge from “a majority parliamentary coalition on a partisan basis”, and added that “an opposition parliamentary coalition would take shape to monitor the majority and serve as shadow government.”

The King added that “parliament should serve as incubator of national dialogue and engage in extensive discussions with local communities and political forces, so that the views of all are heard and taken into account in the decision-making process. Each citizen should become convinced that his or her political participation is fruitful.”

His Majesty urged deputies to take steps to fight wasta and favouritism.

He called the Elections Law “not ideal, although it earned as much consensus as was possible”.

“I call for revisiting this law based on an assessment of your experience and for reviewing the electoral system in a way that wins consensus, promotes fair representation, enables parties to compete fairly, enhances the parliamentary government experience and safeguards the principle of pluralism.”

The King further stressed the importance of dialogue, calling for a “new bottom-up approach to government work based on building strategies and action plans in consultation with the grass-roots.”

“The government should exercise transparency and openness and make available all necessary information when it presents to the people and their representatives budgets, projects, implementation stages and progress reports.”

His Majesty called for the completion of the decentralisation project, which “complements and enhances our democratic process, advances decision-making mechanisms, ensures the highest degree of popular participation in local decision-making, and leads to a more equitable distribution of development gains.”

The King called for consolidating “our regional and global active role, which is founded on a foreign policy that supports our Palestinian brothers in the restoration of their historic and legitimate rights, and the establishment of their long-sought state on Palestinian national soil.”

His Majesty emphasised that Jordan will continue to “support joint Arab action and defend the true image of our Islamic faith as a religion of moderation.”

Upon arrival at Parliament, His Majesty was greeted by a guard of honour, while the Jordan Armed Forces Band played the national anthem and the artillery fired the customary twenty-one gun salute. His Majesty reviewed the honour guard prior to entering the Parliament building.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania and several Royal Family members, the Prime Minister, the President of the Judicial Council, the Royal Court Chief, the King’s advisers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior civilians and military officials and members of the diplomatic missions in Jordan.

After the Speech from the Throne, His Majesty greeted deputies and senators.