Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)
King urges House to expedite work on political reform laws
Amman, 19 February 2012
His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday said Jordan is making steady strides to reform endgame and it will not allow any party to impede the process or derail it.
“We have taken important steps on the path of reform, and we will not stop, or retract, nor will we allow anybody or any party to impede this drive or to divert it off its course and its noble national goals,” King Abdullah told Lower House members during a meeting held at the Royal Court on Sunday.
King Abdullah urged concerned parties to work in a team spirit to overcome the challenges at hand, including the difficult economic situation. The meeting was also attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hussein and Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh,
King Abdullah underlined that the reform roadmap for this year should lead to free and fair elections, under an elections law that guarantees the highest degree of representation to reach the ultimate goal of political reform: parliamentary governments.
The King explained that national elections should see no delay and must top all other considerations. His Majesty had previously expected the polls to be held towards the end of the year.
The King stressed the important role of the Lower House, especially at the current stage, to complete the necessary legislation. He said that the envisaged elections law is the tool to “translate our reform vision into a tangible reality and, accordingly, boost public participation in decision making.”
He said the ball is in Parliament’s court. “Jordanians’ hopes and ambitions are pinned today on the Lower House to complete as soon as possible laws to regulate political life, especially the elections law, the independent elections commission and the political parties law.”
It is imperative that “we work together, at the best of our abilities, and give priority to these pieces of legislation which empower us to achieve our people’s hopes for reform,” the King told the MPs.
The Lower House’s “grave responsibility” also entails giving the government and state institutions the opportunity to work in a positive climate to find viable solutions to the various challenges, to meet public demands, reiterating within this context the people’s right to express themselves freely.
The King voiced confidence in the legislative and executive authorities’ ability to cooperate so as to achieve reform, protect Jordan and to take it to a new level in democratic practices.
On the economy, His Majesty reiterated that economic reform is as important as political reform. “Parliament must support the government’s economic reform efforts to rearrange the economic situation in a sound manner,” the King said.
Lower House Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi stressed the House’s commitment to completing all reform laws within the set deadline. Outlining progress in reform-related legislation, Dughmi said a joint committee comprising members of the legal and administrative committees is now discussing the bill on the independent elections commission, after the draft was discussed with representatives of political parties, professional associations and different brackets of society. The draft law will be on the House agenda next week for deliberation, the speaker announced.
Dughmi noted that the government is committed to sending a draft elections law to the Lower House in the first half of March, adding that the House and the concerned committee, seeking consensus, will as usual launch a dialogue with various segments of society. “There is not an electoral system that pleases everyone. However, we will try our best and the government will work in order to have an elections law that guarantees more representation and satisfies the majority of the Jordanian people,” he added.
On the political parties law, Dughmi said there are no differences regarding this law and it will be endorsed within the designated period, adding that he will request the King’s approval for an extraordinary session in the summer to complete the required task if there is need for more time.