Monday, June 13, 2011

The king of Jordan promises to speed up democratic reforms

Abdullah II, King of Jordan, has committed, Sunday, June 12 evening, with reforms leading to a parliamentary system, while warning against the risks of chaos which would carry the street protests. In a televised speech marking the twelfth anniversary of his accession to the throne, the first since the outbreak of protests in Jordan in mid-January, the monarch has supported a project to reform the electoral law, which would see members government either chosen by the king, but elected by parliament.

This reform has been drafted by a commission set up by the government to try to meet the demands voiced by the protesters who gathered for several weeks in the wake of Tunisian and Egyptian movements. Unveiled last week, the proposals of the government commission, however, did not satisfy the opposition.

The proposed reform maintains including under-representation in parliament towns of Jordan, the majority Palestinian population and preserve the domination of the rural and tribal areas sparsely populated. In his speech, the king on the other denounced "the dictates of the street and the lack of voice of reason," referring to the protest movement demanding political and economic reforms and an end to corruption, stressing that "nobody has a monopoly in Jordan or promotion of reforms." "We must distinguish between democratic changes achievable and the risks of chaos and discord," he said.

While expressing commitment to the fight against corruption, the king nonetheless denounced the new approach "based on rumors and gossip (...) which negatively affects the image of Jordan in the world."

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