Opening the First Ordinary Session of the 14th Parliament
1 December 2003
(Translated from Arabic)
Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad,The Faithful Arab, Hashemite Prophet,
Peace and God's mercy and blessings are upon you.
In the name of God and upon His blessings; in enhancement of building a democratic and modern Jordan; in assertion of the continuance of our democratic course; in embodiment of our commitment to democracy and in order to achieve our clear vision for our beloved Jordan, which should, through your resolve and the resolve of our people, be a model of a democratic Arab Islamic State, based on justice, under the sovereignty of the law, political pluralism and respect of citizens' rights, and with the help of God, we inaugurate the ordinary session of the Fourteenth Parliament.
This constitutional event which we are witnessing today is a source of our pride, for it is the first elected House of Representatives in our reign, which has been charged with key responsibility in realising our vision for the enhancement of Jordan's strength and the achievement of its prosperity and welfare during the next ten years. We are firmly committed to change and development, to take initiative unwaveringly, whatever the difficulties, so that Jordan's roots continue to be firmly established and resolute in its own surroundings and throughout the world, for Jordan, with its Hashemite mandate, is Jordan the pioneer, Jordan the model and the example to be followed.
Convening your honourable house today consummates the institutional building effort, which harmonises with the Constitution to affirm your vital and active legislative role. Through you, it also represents the aspirations of Jordan's sons and daughters, and incorporates their ambitions and the potentials of a prosperous future. Your session today provides a Constitutional opportunity for the Speech from the Throne, which we desire to be a speech that this year depicts our vision for the future of our beloved homeland, enhanced by the overall will that has consecrated "Jordan First" as an inclusive homeland for all its sons and daughters, who tirelessly endeavour to safeguard national unity and strive to be the sturdy supporters and deeply-rooted foundations for all the causes of the Arab nation, and for all of Jordan's brethren, who will achieve their strength through its strength and their honour and glory through its honour and glory.
Your honourable house follows the steps of our promise of, and belief in the "Jordan First" principle and represents the future of our sons, daughters and children in desert lands and rural areas, as well as villages, camps and cities.
Thus, we wish it to be a legislative chamber that distinguishes itself in its performance, and a source to which our government refers for assistance when it works out its comprehensive plans and national programs to influence the positive change we wish and respond to the ambitions and hopes of our youth, from “Jordan First” to “Jordan present and future.”
Our vision of the Jordan that will emerge in the future is based on a solid foundation, whose substance is that Jordan is a modern democratic country, that it is a fundamental part of the Arab and Islamic nation, that it is proud of belonging to this nation and of its highborn Hashemite ancestry, that it is committed to highlight this bright and truthful image of the faith and practices of Islam, and to do so with absolute conviction, in order to promote Jordan as a civilised model for tolerance, freedom of thought, creativity and excellence.
Our goal is comprehensive development, which we view as an imperative base for prosperity and well-being, and which we endeavour to achieve through integration and cohesiveness in the political, economic and social fields. To accomplish this, we have to adopt a methodology, characterised by modernity and initiative, that does not fall victim to routine and procrastination. This vision is based on new foundations and mechanisms, the most prominent of which are the following:
First: To consecrate a society of collaboration and cooperation, built upon a solid foundation of justice, equality, equal opportunities, and respect for human rights, through the adoption of the principles of integrity and transparency in all the areas of work and production. It should also be built upon deep conviction that the law is sovereign above all, without nepotism or discrimination.
Second: To invigorate the energies of the society and involve all in the development process, especially youth and women. Women should be provided with all the necessary capabilities and due rights in order to ensure their full participation in the political, economic and social life. The aspired-for change will come about only through stimulating Jordanian youth and listening to their views, for they are the pillars of the future and the substance of change. Consequently, their role should be enhanced, job opportunities should be made available to them, and their hopes and aspirations should be realised.
Third: To disseminate a culture of democracy based upon the principles of dialogue, respect of the views of others, acceptance of differences of opinion as a source of enrichment, and commitment to the decision of the majority, away from extremism, excess and claiming truth as exclusive to one party and not the other. For accepting others and recognising their rights to expression and difference in opinion is the right approach to highlight the comprehensive harmony of the aspirations of all Jordanian men and women and the achievement of their hopes and aspirations. From this democratic platform, I call for a comprehensive national dialogue that will lead to convening a national congress to discuss the different economic, social and political issues, and to study viable solutions for them.
Fourth: The achievement of comprehensive development also necessitates the development of the judiciary, which should be immunised with independence, integrity and neutrality. We should also advance the media as a media machine of the modern state, capable of adopting our national causes in an environment of pluralism and responsible freedom. It is also our duty to support the National Centre for Human Rights to enable it to carry out its mission of protecting and fostering our citizens' rights.
Fifth: Jordan, as a model and example to be followed, and as the substance of our vision, is in need of a bold mentality that adopts radical changes in the modes of thinking and the mechanisms of decision-making, in order to bypass traditional, piece-meal and instantaneous solutions, and elevate them to become strategic plans and programs that are based upon our vision of the future of our country.
Accordingly, my government shall adopt a comprehensively-planned, clearly-defined path to economic and social reforms that mainly relies on, and maximises the utilisation of our own resources.
Therefore, the government is invited today, more than any time before, to work relentlessly to raise the economic growth rate, provide work opportunities for youth and alleviate the problems of poverty and unemployment. To achieve these goals, it is imperative that we expedite the implementation and development of our educational programs, to link the outputs of education and vocational training to the labour market, and to adopt an ambitious strategy for the development of our governorates, with the active participation of the local communities.
It is imperative that the government creates an investment environment capable of attracting capital, transferring and putting technology in place, with the aim of accelerating the development of the national economy, from a traditional economy to a modern one based on science, knowledge and productivity. It is also imperative that we provide health and social care to our children, so that they may grow in a healthy social environment that qualifies them for sound integration into society and for building their own future.
We have always believed that development cannot be achieved without the participation of all. Therefore, from this platform, we invite the private sector and the institutions of the voluntary and civil society, despite their successful performance, to be bolder and more enterprising in leading sustainable economic and social development.
It is the duty of the popular sectors, civil society institutions and forums of dialogue and thought to respond with sincerity to this call of ours and to endeavour to create a radical, positive transformation in our democratisation process, by launching a real, national partisan movement, whose concern is Jordan first, and which derives the legitimacy of its existence from its commitment to the causes of the homeland, and the needs and aspirations of the Jordanian citizen. We believe that the presence of political parties, including those of the national opposition, is both vital and necessary for the modern state. We look forward to the day when nationalist opposition parties that are loyal to Jordan will be partners in making our national decisions. These political parties should have comprehensive, integrated national programs and should be established and launched by the grassroots, not by individuals or groups that are brought together by transient interests. Thus, our political parties will be able to acquire credibility and the ability to bring about the aspired-for change.
Your honourable house is able to contribute to the national renaissance in cooperation with the Executive power. We emphasise your house's monitoring and supervisory role in applying laws and combating corruption, favouritism and wasta. Such is the role of a model deputy, who puts the national interest before all the personal interests of his/her electoral constituency or those of his/her relatives and acquaintances.
As for our armed and security forces, which we recognise with pride and appreciation for their omnipresent role in defending the homeland, safeguarding its security and stability and contributing greatly to our development process, it is inadmissible to falsely charge these forces or belittle their role and sacrifices. Our interest and care for them shall continue to top our national priorities. They will continue to merit my personal follow-up and supervision of the modernisation of their capabilities. We shall raise the level of their performance and commit ourselves to improving the living conditions of their staff and families, so that they may rise up to their momentous national and human responsibilities with utmost efficiency, excellence and capability.
The huge challenges that confront the Arab nation, call upon us to revise a lot of our positions in order to achieve the glory of this great nation. In this we bank on our genuine, ingrained Hashemite role, which dictates upon us a spirit of entrepreneurship and initiative. The cause of Palestine and its brotherly people, as well as Iraq's quest for a better future are deeply embedded in Jordan's sentiment and conscious. We shall never languish or save any effort until justice has been achieved in Palestine and Iraq and until the peoples of these two brotherly peoples enjoy their independent free will. We are fully confident that Jordanians, who have endured all the difficulties and succeeded in building the modern Jordanian State, are capable of realising our vision for a bright future and a flourishing tomorrow within our capabilities, God willing.
The Almighty God is the Provider of Success.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings upon you.