King of Jordan lays out blueprint for democratic transformation in Speech from the Throne

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah outlined his vision for the spurring comprehensive reforms in his Speech from the Throne on Sunday, which inaugurated the first session of the 17th Parliament.

In his speech, the King outlined guidelines to be adopted by parliament, focusing on issues that dominated the scene in the Kingdom for over a year, including constitutional amendments, separation and balance of powers and preventing the encroachment of one branch of government over the other.

“These changes [constitutional amendments] have enrooted the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and the principles of justice and equality.”

“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 dwelt on 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 a shadow government”.

The Monarch added that “parliament should serve as an 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”.

The King urged the deputies to take steps to fight wasta and favouritism.

He called the Elections Law “not ideal”, but it has “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 also highlighted the importance of stimulating the energies of local communities through the completion of the decentralisation project.

He said that the project “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 also urged the audience to “support joint Arab action and defend the true image of our Islamic faith as a religion of moderation”.
AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah outlined his vision for the spurring comprehensive reforms in his Speech from the Throne on Sunday, which inaugurated the first session of the 17th Parliament.

In his speech, the King outlined guidelines to be adopted by parliament, focusing on issues that dominated the scene in the Kingdom for over a year, including constitutional amendments, separation and balance of powers and preventing the encroachment of one branch of government over the other.

“These changes [constitutional amendments] have enrooted the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and the principles of justice and equality.”

“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 dwelt on 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 a shadow government”.

The Monarch added that “parliament should serve as an 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”.

The King urged the deputies to take steps to fight wasta and favouritism.

He called the Elections Law “not ideal”, but it has “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 also highlighted the importance of stimulating the energies of local communities through the completion of the decentralisation project.

He said that the project “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 also urged the audience to “support joint Arab action and defend the true image of our Islamic faith as a religion of moderation”.

His Majesty King Abdullah addresses members of the 17th Parliament in Amman on Sunday (Photo by Yousef Allan)

Categories: Arab World, Asia, Jordan

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