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Rule of Law Core Ingredient of Civil State — His Majesty King Abdullah II

In his sixth discussion paper, His Majesty King Abdullah addresses the concepts of a civil state and the rule of law (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah has emphasized that the rule of law is the sine qua non of civil state and its absence is a factor of the fall of nations and disintegration of societies.
 
In his sixth discussion paper, titled “Rule of law and civil state” and issued on Sunday, His Majesty addressed the two concepts and the factors that lead to upholding the principle of the rule of law.
 
King Abdullah has authored and published five discussion papers that dealt specifically with democracy, parliamentary government and political reform in Jordan from December 29, 2012, until September 14, 2014.
 
The papers discussed democratic transition, political roles and responsibilities of the various authorities including the Parliament, the prime minister and the Cabinet, as well as the future of Monarchy.
 
Highlighting the significance of the topic, the King said that since the last discussion paper many developments have taken place.
 
“Conflicts have deepened and our region is undergoing radical transformations, triggering grave repercussions on regional countries, including our beloved country,” he said, stressing that perhaps no single country in recent history has endured as many external shocks as Jordan has, yet the Kingdom has shown enough resilience to survive all these tests.
 
“Despite conflicts and wars surrounding us, disintegration of neighbouring societies, and the influx of refugees seeking the safety and dignity they were denied in their homeland [and] despite all odds and challenges, we have proved to ourselves and the entire world — time and again — that we stand tall, strong and resolute in our unity.”
 
For Jordan to remain resilient and to progress and prosper, the rule of law should be upheld as is the main underpinning of a properly functioning nation, he said.
 
Respecting the rule of law is the one true expression of love for our country.
 
Declarations of loyalty and devotion to Jordan remain abstract and theoretical in the absence of respect to laws, His Majesty said, stressing that the rule of law cannot be applied selectively and it supersedes social status, rank and family connections.
 
Respect for the rights of minority groups should be viewed as a guarantor for the rights of the majority, the King emphasized, explaining that if any member of society feels unsafe or unfairly treated because he or she belongs to a minority, “then all of us must feel that we are standing on shaky grounds”. 
 
King Abdullah said that the rule of law is the essence of prudent state administration, adding that Jordan cannot achieve sustainable development, empower creative youth or successfully execute development plans unless state administration is advanced and the rule of law is enhanced through strengthening the principles of justice, equality and transparency. The same applies to political reform and democratization, he said.
 
During recent years, however, the level of performance and achievement in administrative agencies has been below expectation and has not been up to what the public deserves, King Abdullah added, urging joint efforts to improve administration processes through a process of evaluation.
 
The Monarch warned that hesitation in applying the law in a just, transparent and competent manner leads to the loss of rights and weakens people’s trust in state institutions. Leniency by some officials in upholding the law, he said, encourages some to continue violating the law, creating room for corruption and even undermining the country’s most vital pillar — good citizenship.
 
His Majesty urged a well-functioning system of accountability involving binding codes of conduct that govern the work and performance of institutions and authorities, adding that audit mechanisms combined, along with the Constitutional Court and the Independent Election Commission, play a vital role in cementing the rule of law.
 
King Abdullah underlined that we cannot address the issue of rule of law without recognizing that wasta and nepotism jeopardize development efforts.
 
“Wasta does not only impede the country’s progression, it erodes achievements by undermining the values of justice, equal opportunity and good citizenship, which are the enablers of development in any society,” he said, stressing that “we cannot tolerate such practices that destroy the bases of public service. We cannot allow them to become a source of frustration for our qualified youth, by leaving our young generations victim to the conviction that their future, whether in college or in the job market, hinges on their ability to benefit from wasta and nepotism. How can a generation brainwashed with sub-loyalties assume the responsibilities of protecting the rule of law or running national institutions?”
 
Jordan Times
October 16, 2016