Timeline of Political Reform

Date

Subject

Summary

November 2002

Jordan First Initiative – Launched

His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein introduced 'Jordan First' to promote the concept of a modern democratic state. More than a slogan, Jordan First is a plan of action to consolidate the spirit of belonging among citizens, all acting as partners in building and developing Jordan.

Jordan First affirms the primacy of Jordanian interests above others. It also aims to spread a culture of respect and tolerance, and it strengthens the concepts of parliamentary democracy, rule of law, public freedom, accountability, transparency, justice and equal rights.

2002

National Centre for Human Rights

The National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) is an independent national institution which has a juridical character with full financial and administrative independence in practicing its intellectual, political, and humanitarian activities related to human rights.

February, 2005

National Agenda – Launched

The National Agenda represents an ambitious effort to create a master plan for the reform, future growth and development of Jordan. His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein introduced the concept in 2005 as a way of creating a comprehensive strategy for social, political, and economic transformation, which would put Jordan on a trajectory toward rapid, sustainable economic growth and greater social inclusion. This initiative laid the ground work for the mature political discussions taking place throughout society today.

July 2006

Kuluna Al Urdan Initiative – Launched

'We Are All Jordan Youth' Forum convened 750 Jordanians from a variety of sectors who gathered at the Dead Sea for a series of discussions and voting sessions, in order to create a list of the most urgent issues facing the country.

March 2011

National Dialogue Committee – Established

The NDC included representatives of political parties, professional associations, the economic sector, civil society organisations, and youth and women’s societies. It was tasked with opening extended dialogue with all citizens in order to arrive at a consensus over legislation governing political reform, including the elections and the political parties’ laws.

The NDC’s recommendations highlighted the importance of respecting human rights, empowering the rule of the law and equal opportunity, combating corruption and boosting transparency and good governance, the independence of the three branches of authority, freedom of expression and press freedom, setting up a constitutional court, and repairing the education system, among others.

April 2011

Establishment of the Royal Committee to review the Constitution 

His Majesty tasked the Royal Committee to review the whole constitution, going above and beyond calls to return to the 1952 Constitution.

May 2011

Amendments to Public Assemblies Law

Amending the Public Assembly Law was a fundamental demand in the political reform process, and an essential part of the political life and political parties regulatory laws.

According to the amended law, any public meeting or demonstration will no longer require approval by administrative governors, but now only requires 48 hours notice by the organizers in an effort to take the necessary security and organizing measures.

September 2011

Amendments to 42 central articles of the Constitution (over a third of the constitution)

The amendments to one third of the constitution which limiting His Majesty’s constitutional prerogatives to postpone elections, including to dissolve the Lower House indefinitely, keep a government in office, or re-appoint a Prime Minister.

December 2011

Establishment of the Independent Elections Committee

A product of the constitutional amendments, the IEC is an autonomous legal entity which is financially and administratively independent. The Commission is tasked with the supervision and administration of all phases of parliamentary elections as well as other elections called for by the government. The IEC shall take all necessary measures to administer free, fair, and transparent elections based on the principles of justice, equality of opportunity, and the rule of law.

February 2012

Amendments to Political Parties Law

The Political Parties Law, set the minimum number of founding members of a party to 500 instead of 250, as endorsed previously by deputies. Under the new law, political parties should be established to embody the principles and values of citizenship, equality, democracy, and respect of pluralism.

Authority to license political parties is no longer vested in the Interior Ministry, but in a committee headed by the Interior Minister, with the President of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau as vice-chair, and including a civil society representative, the general commissioner of the National Centre for Human Right, the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice, and his Interior Ministry counterpart.

June 2012

Amendments to the National Election Law

The new Election Law addressed a number of legal and practical loopholes and abnormalities in the previous election law, such as the virtual districts and their consequences.

The new Election Law puts an end to the one-vote system and grants voters two votes each; the first vote is on the constituency level and the second is for the national level - known as the national list.

The law enhanced the presence of women and their involvement in the legislative branch by increasing the quota of seats to 15.

On a number of occasions His Majesty has indicated that the Election Law, in addition to other laws and legislations, can be developed by future parliaments regardless of their compositions to ensure further developments in the reform path and democratic experience.

June 2012

Establishment of the Constitutional Court

Another product of the constitutional amendments, the Constitutional Court was established to interpret the Constitution and to examine the constitutionality of laws and regulations, in order to safe guard citizens’ constitutional rights. The court 'has the right to interpret the provisions of the Constitution if requested, either by virtue of a decision of the Council of Ministers or by a resolution taken by the Senate or the Chamber of Deputies passed by an absolute majority.'

December 2012

National Integrity Commission

Established from to His Majesty’s belief that rooting out corruption will require a holistic approach which addresses and strengthens preventative measures of corruption. This will be with transparency and transparent process and vision, as well as dealing swiftly with allegation and proven cases of corruption by expediting investigations and prosecutions. The commission will examine each part of the national integrity system and provide concrete recommendations on how to strengthen it.

December 2012

Creation of the Social Entrepreneurship Fund for Democracy

His Majesty King Abdullah entrusted the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD) with the creation of a new programme focusing on building civic engagement and strengthening democratic values in Jordan through social entrepreneurship.

The programme will identify and support Jordanian social entrepreneurs who arepassionate about building a vibrant and inclusive democracy for all. Where appropriate, the programme will build on and support existing social initiatives making full use of their creativity for the good of the Kingdom. It will do this by providing access to the resources, training, and support that citizens need to translate their ideas into reality. 

December 2012

First of a series of Royal Discussion Papers published

Since ascending the Throne in 1999, His Majesty King Abdullah II has expressed a clear and consistent vision for comprehensive reform and the future of Jordanian democracy. In this series of discussion papers, His Majesty lays out perspectives on specific elements of our journey towards realizing that future. The aim of these papers is to facilitate a national conversation around Jordan’s reform roadmap and democratic transformation in order to build consensus, encourage citizens’ participation in decision-making, and sustain the constructive momentum for reform.

The first discussion paper, entitled 'Our Journey to Forge our Path Towards Democracy', touched on two principle issues: How we disagree with each other in the public sphere. and how we can take decisions on the national level. The paper also included a call by His Majesty to consolidate four concepts to enroot democracy:

·        Respect for all fellow citizens is the essence of our unity.

·        Citizenship and accountability go hand in hand.

·        Harnessing disagreement into compromise while maintaining constant dialogue.

·        Shared gains and sacrifices.

January 2013

Privatization Review Committee

This committee represents yet another step in Jordan’s reform process with the aim of reviewing privatization policies that started in 1989. It will present an objective and transparent assessment for public consumption. This assessment will help shape future policies and will provide the framework for public-private partnerships in the future.

January 2013

 Second Royal Discussion Paper published

In the second discussion paper, entitled 'Making our democratic system work for all Jordanians', His Majesty outlines:

·        The unwavering principles that will underpin Jordan’s democratic transition process,

·        Jordan’s form of parliamentary government versus other models in the world,

·        The outline of how HM will select the next prime minster in Jordan that will kick start the process of parliamentary government, 

·        The conditions necessary for a successful transition towards a full parliamentary system of governance.

January 2013

Parliamentary Elections

Jordanian citizens’ headed to the polls and voted in their next parliament, with a voter turnout of 56.7 % turnout. The Election was administered by the Independent Elections Commission for the first time, under a new law that provides citizens with two votes (one district level vote and one national level vote). This parliament will pilot the parliamentary government experience.