Politics and Reform

Introduction
Role of Citizens
Political Reform

The objective of Jordan's political reform is the promotion of the role of citizens in political life and the decision-making process. Since ascending to the throne in 1999, His Majesty has championed evolutionary political, social and economic reforms well before the onset of the current 'Arab Spring'. Over the past decade, His Majesty has laid the groundwork for a cultural shift towards a progressive and inclusive political reform. 

Most recently, the Jordanian approach to reform began with a comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue that led to constitutional amendments, the passage of laws governing political life, the establishment of the Independent Election Commission and a Constitutional Court, followed by legislative elections to kick-start the experience of parliamentary governments.

More than one third of the Constitution was amended to reinforce the concept of separation and balance of powers and prevent the predominance of one over the other, in addition to strengthening the concept of respecting human rights and protecting fundamental freedoms. In addition to the completion of the Independent Election Commission, Constitutional Court, Political Parties and Election laws.

For the first time, a Constitutional Court was established to interpret the Constitution and to examine the constitutional legality of laws and regulations.

For the first time, an independent commission managed and supervised all phases of the electoral process to ensure the elections met the highest standards of integrity, fairness, and transparency.

For the first time, the Election Law adopted the concept of proportional representation on the national level to pave the way for the emergence of political blocs and coalitions, which will help in consolidating partisan work and spreading democratic culture.

A National Integrity Commission was established to fulfil His Majesty's repeated decries to institutionalise combating corruption, enhance Jordanians’ confidence in the state’s ability to deter and eliminate corruption, and enroot transparency and accountability.

A Privatization Review Committee was established due to His Majesty’s faith in the future and the need to adopt a model of transparency and full disclosure of all past government policies and programs to reinforce public confidence in state institutions and to inform future policy development.

Furthermore, the Royal Vision has repeatedly reiterated that reforms are part of an on-going process and do not end with these elections. The elections are a means rather than an end in itself. The momentum of elections will be maintained to review our performance and adjust the trajectory of reform to make sure that this milestone leads to achieving national goals in our democratic transformation.

The political process is an opportunity for fair competition to generate the best ideas and solutions. The recent parliamentary elections constituted a key milestone on the path of democratisation. Candidates should not be campaigning for the right to sit in Parliament and earn personal gains. They should compete for the responsibility to take decisions and choices that affect all Jordanians. Voters have a national responsibility to debate and discuss with candidates their positions on key issues facing the country and base their vote on their programmes, not on personal relationships and affinities. Citizens’ practice of their electoral rights and duties is vital, as they have been empowered by the amended constitution in all decision-making processes.

His Majesty noted a number of indicators that can show that we are on the right path:

  • A shared sense of dignity and pride in what we are doing together as a nation.
  • A sense of achievement in overcoming the challenges and common denominators.
  • Active engagement in shaping the future of Jordan through voting in elections, volunteering and a commitment to democracy as a national way of life.
  • Fruitful and respectful debates and discussions taking place in-person and through media platforms.
  • Civility between citizens characterized by growing generosity and trust.

Role of Citizens

Citizens should actively engage and participate in discussions over important decisions and issues without restraint. Participating in the electoral process and citizens’ debate with candidates is one form of engagement. However, citizens’ participation does not end in voting. It continues by holding elected officials to their commitments. Candidates’ proposal of practical programmes that provide implementable solutions, away from theoretical slogans and over-diagnosis is one way to respond to citizens’ engagement in public life since these programmes respond to citizens’ needs.

Engaged citizens are encouraged to follow-up on the news, interact with media outlets, write to their MPs, monitor their councils and community leaders’ performance and continuously question their positions, and self–organise on the community level to address urgent service issues.

Political Reform

  • In January 2013, Jordan held elections for its 17th parliament. The election was the first to take place after constitutional reforms introduced following the Arab Spring. The new elections law combines the “one-person one-vote” system and proportional representation in an effort to encourage continued emergence and participation of political parties.
     
  • As part of the 2013 parliamentary elections, His Majesty King Abdullah II consulted, for the first time, with the newly elected parliament to choose a Prime Minister. This brings the Jordanian political system closer to a "parliamentary monarchy."
     
  • Following the Arab Spring, more than one-third of Jordan’s constitution was amended to reinforce the concept of separation and balance of powers and prevent the predominance of one over the other, in addition to strengthening the concept of respecting human rights and protecting fundamental freedoms.
     
  • The 2012 Elections Law is the first in the history of Jordan to adopt proportional representation and closed lists, a system that encourages the emergence and role of political parties and promotes voting based on platforms rather than personal or factional interests.
     
  • In 2012, Jordan established a Constitutional Court to interpret the Constitution and to examine the constitutionality of laws and regulations, in order to safe guard citizens’ constitutional rights.
     
  • As part of Jordan’s political reform process, a National Integrity Commission was formed based on the belief that rooting out corruption requires a holistic approach which addresses and strengthens preventative measures. In April 2014, HM King Abdullah II stressed the importance of implementing the commission’s recommendations designed to address financial corruption set guidelines to safeguard public money and assets, and improve services offered to citizens.