March 10, 2011:
King Abdallah II of Jordan has abjured political parties in his newly formed government to adopt platforms that meet the aspirations of Jordanians from all sectors of society, the Jordan Times reports.
“We are eager to begin with a new era and there is nothing that we are afraid of,” Abdallah said during a meeting with the secretaries general and representatives of Jordan’s various political parties. Party platforms must, Abdallah insisted, “Represent the entire national fabric and all the different social and political currents.”
According to a Royal Court statement, Abdallah told those attending that developing platforms that sought economic development and improved living standards for Jordanians would garner the support of Jordan’s youth, who were largely responsible for protests which led the King to sack his Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Political development requires a developed, partisan public, Abdallah told them, highlighting the importance of strong and effective parties that present clear and well defined platforms and play a key role in the reform process, “especially at the current stage.”
“When we speak about political reform, we speak about elections law and a party law that should achieve national consensus, in a manner that fulfills the aspirations of all Jordanians and keeps up with new developments,” Abdallah explained.
The King directed his new government to launch a national dialogue leading to consensus on legislation and regulation of political activity, emphasizing the importance of the parties’ participation in this dialogue. Party leaders, in turn, expressed a desire for meaningful legislation that would be, “real and engage the spectra of society in the development of our decision-making processes”.
Whether or not Abdallah intends real reform, or his statements amount to another Hashemite Shuffle, remains to be seen. However, the party leaders in attendance state the reforms they envision will foster the currently non-existent principle of separation of powers in Jordan, which do not exist at present.
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