Politics of Jordan
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Politics and government of
The politics of Jordan takes place in a framework of a parliamentary monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Jordan is head of government, and of a multi-party system. Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. As of 1 February 2011, Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai resigned and King Abdullah asked Marouf Bakhit, a former prime minister, to form a new more democratic government.
|King||Abdullah II of Jordan||7 February 1999|
|Prime Minister||Abdullah Ensour||Independent||11 October 2012|
Executive authority is vested in the king and his cabinet. The king signs, executes, and vetoes all laws. The king may also suspend or dissolve parliament, and shorten or lengthen the term of session. A veto by the king may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of parliament at his discretion, most recently in November 2009. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The Cabinet, led by a prime minister, was formerly appointed by the king, but following the 2011 Jordanian protests, King Abdullah agreed to an elected cabinet. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of "no confidence" by that body.
Legislative power rests in the bicameral National Assembly. The National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma) has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies (Majlis al-Nuwaab) has 150 members, elected for a four-year terms in single-seat constituencies with 15 seats reserved for women by a special electoral college. In addition nine seats are reserved for Christians and three for Chechens/Circassians. While the Chamber of Deputies is elected by the people, its main legislative abilities are limited to approving, rejecting, or amending legislation with little power to initiate laws. The Assembly of Senators (Majlis al-Aayan) has 60 members appointed by the King for a four-year term. The Assembly of Senators is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies and can be removed by a "vote of no confidence".
Political factions or blocs in the Jordanian parliament change with each parliamentary election and typically involve one of the following affiliations; a democratic Marxist/Socialist faction, a mainstream liberal faction, a moderate-pragmatic faction, a mainstream conservative faction and an extreme right-wing faction, such as the Islamic Action Front).
The judiciary is completely independent from the other two branches of the government. The constitution provides for three categories of courts—civil (in this case meaning "regular"), religious, and special. Regular courts consist of both civil and criminal varieties at the first level—First Instance or Conciliation Courts, second level—Appelette or Appeals Courts, and the Cassation Court which is the highest judicial authority in the kingdom. There are two types of religious courts: Sharia courts which enforce the provisions of Islamic law and civil status, and tribunals of other religious communities officially recognized in Jordan.
King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999, surviving a number of challenges to his rule, drawing on the loyalty of his military, and serving as a symbol of unity and stability for both the East Bank and Palestinian communities in Jordan. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992. In 1989 and 1993, Jordan held free and fair parliamentary elections. Controversial changes in the election law led Islamist parties to boycott the 1997 elections.
King Abdullah II succeeded his father Hussein following the latter's death in February 1999. Abdullah moved quickly to reaffirm Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and its relations with the United States. Abdullah, during the first year in power, refocused the government's agenda on economic reform.
Jordan's continuing structural economic difficulties, burgeoning population, and more open political environment led to the emergence of a variety of political parties. Moving toward greater independence, Jordan's parliament has investigated corruption charges against several regime figures and has become the major forum in which differing political views, including those of political Islamists, are expressed.
On February 1, 2011, it was announced that King Abdullah had dismissed his government. This has been interpreted as a pre-emptive move in the context of the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution and unfolding events in nearby Egypt.
King Abdullah II and the Jordanian Government began the process of decentralization, with the Madaba governorate as the pilot project, on the regional level dividing the nation into three regions: North, Central, and South. The Greater Amman Municipality will be excluded from the plan but it will set up a similar decentralization process. Each region will have an elected council that will handle the political, social, legal, and economic affairs of its area. This decentralization process is part of Jordan's Democratization Program.
According to Transparency International, Jordan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Jordan ranked 47th out of 180 nations in the Corruption Perceptions Index. The Constitution of Jordan states that no member of Parliament can have any financial or business dealings with the government and no member of the royal family can be in the government. However, corruption remains a problem in Jordan despite progress. Corruption cases are examined by the Anti-Corruption Commission and then referred to the judiciary for legal action. Corruption in Jordan takes the form of nepotism, favouritism, and bribery.
Administratively, Jordan is divided into twelve governorates (muhafazat, singular—muhafazah), each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas:
International organization participation
ABEDA, ACC, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, CTBTO, EBRD, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTAET, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, WTrO
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