King makes major reforms speech
Yesterday, the anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt, Army Day and Coronation Day in Jordan, was marked with a major speech by King Abdullah II in which he outlined further reforms.
The speech covered a number of areas including the need to fight corruption, provide a free media to allow people’s concerns to be expressed, introduce economic reforms including tax reforms and find ways to engage with the youth of Jordan.
The major part of the speech covered political reforms where the King stressed that, “The law should guarantee the fairness and transparency of the electoral process through a mechanism that will lead to a Parliament with active political party representation, one that allows the formation of governments based on parliamentary majority and political party manifestos in the future.”
He stressed the importance of decentralisation and giving more powers to local government, “In the same context, we will instruct the government to hold new municipal elections based on a new law that can guarantee greater representation for local communities and serve citizens more efficiently and fairly as a key ingredient for the implementation of the wider decentralisation plan. The plan is based on the establishment of municipal councils to increase public participation in decision making and their role in identifying local development priorities.”
And in an encouraging sign that would mark Jordan from the rest of the region he said, “In terms of social reform, I stress the importance of accelerating efforts to abolish all forms of discrimination against women in the legislative system through the political and representative institutions that emanated from our vision for a new, reformed Jordan.”
In a sign that the King is clearly concerned that the reforms could be hijacked by groups with other agendas, the speech was peppered with words of warning, “We in Jordan must distinguish between those democratic transformations that take us towards the desired reform and the exploitation of the same in the interest of some partisan or factional agendas that steer us away from national consensus and comprehensive reform process.”
The full text of the speech as published in The Jordan Times is available on the Jordan country page.