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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

Parliament replies to Speech from the Throne
Amman, 27 February 2013

The two Houses of Parliament on Wednesday submitted their replies to the Speech from the Throne, which His Majesty King Abdullah delivered on February 10, marking the beginning of the 17th Lower House’s extraordinary session.

In their replies, the two Chambers said that the Speech from the Throne represented a roadmap for all Jordanians to develop and strengthen the country.

The Speech from the Throne outlined “clear features for a new stage… towards comprehensive reform,” Senate President Taher Masri said.

King Abdullah outlined the needs and the aspirations of the Jordanian people, the Parliament said, pledging to shoulder its responsibilities to meet these needs and help with the country’s continuous democratic transformation.

Masri underscored constitutional reforms completed a year-and-a-half ago, noting that the amendments to the Constitution boosted the separation of powers and enhanced the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and guarantees of justice and equality among all members of Jordanian society.

Stressing the importance of political reform, Masri said economic and social reforms should run in parallel with political reform.

He called for “a fair distribution of development resources across the Kingdom, especially in underprivileged areas, in a manner that provides economic security to the country and its citizens.”

In their reply, the Upper House said that the election of the 17th Parliament was an important step in the democratic transformation of the country.

They also said that institutionalising the blocs within the Lower House will be a pillar for active national political parties. “It will expedite the emergence of a parliamentary party-based government, which enjoys the backing of the majority,” said the Senate in the reply.

The reply underscored the importance of an opposition bloc that could monitor and criticise the government’s work.

It also called for reviewing and amending the current Elections Law, and for evaluating the “election experience” and building on it, so as to develop political life in the country on the basis of the principles of diversity and party-based government.

They also valued the “complementary” partnership between the private and public sectors, civil society institutions, and councils and municipalities.

The reply also called for focusing on development of the governorates, and to use the “youths’ energy” to allow them to participate in decision-making.

Lower House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour expressed confidence in the future, pointing out that the House will shoulder its responsibilities in full, in order to fulfil the people’s aspirations.

In order to form a parliamentary government, Srour said the House is aware of its responsibility to develop its internal work mechanisms and tools as soon as possible. This includes amending its rules of procedure in a manner that will boost the role of its permanent committees and blocs, in line with the Constitution.

The House stated that it will work to put an end to corruption and increase public trust in the legislative authority, in addition to the other branches of the government.

It also said that the Lower House will be reviewing the elections and political parties laws and amend them in a way that broadens participation of both individuals and parties.