Jordan's parliament debates constitutional changes

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
King Abdullah II of Jordan during a meeting in London, England, October 28, 2021.
Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via APKing Abdullah II of Jordan during a meeting in London, England, October 28, 2021.

Changes in the text would extend the representation of women and political parties

Jordan’s parliament began discussions on Monday over proposed constitutional reforms that, according to officials, will revitalize the monarchy and deliver on long-promised political adjustments. 

A royal committee appointed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II drafted proposals with aims to modernize the country’s political system and revamp existing political parties as well as election laws, Reuters reported.

In April, former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein among others were accused of plotting to overthrow Abdullah II. 

The attempted coup exposed fault lines within the royal family that has shielded Jordan from turmoil experienced among its neighbors Syria and Iraq.

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Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh noted that the draft legislation would pave the way for a prime minister emerging from a parliamentary majority rather than one handpicked by the monarch. 

Such is a focus of the reformist agenda favored by a mix of Islamist and tribal figures in the kingdom, according to Reuters.

“It allows the leader of the country to go towards party-based governments," Khasawneh told the assembly.

Abdullah II, who can dissolve parliament and appoint governments, has voiced that he looks forward to Jordan becoming a constitutional monarch.

Some deputies criticized the alterations, claiming that the monarch is opting for timid steps toward democracy in response to regional turmoil.  

Other changes in the text would extend the representation of women and political parties. 

Jordan has in recent years seen bouts of civil unrest and street protests led by disaffected tribes and a mainly Islamist opposition that demands the king to fight corruption and calls for wider political freedoms.