Home

Embassy Staff

Consular Section

Honorary Consulates

Economy & Trade

Tourism

Jordanian Missions

Government Listing

Links

Contact

 

 

By Mohammad Ben Hussein

AMMAN - Improving living standards of Jordanians is top priority in the coming four years, said His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday in the Speech from the Throne inaugurating the 15th Parliament.

The King called for productive cooperation between the legislative and executive authorities to achieve political, economic and social reform plans.

"Our vision for Jordan's future is clear and ambitious; its pillar is comprehensive reform and modernisation - political, economic and social - for the sake of attaining the ultimate goal: Improving citizens' standard of living and providing the means for a decent life to every Jordanian family. This is the duty of all: Myself, the government and you, the two Houses of Parliament," the King said in the speech (see full text).

"This for us is a principle to which we are committed in governance and administration, and not just a slogan that some reiterate to achieve interim or momentary goals," said the Monarch in his address to members of the Senate, the Lower House, as well as the newly appointed government and citizens in the gallery.

The King urged the deputies and the government to work to serve people’s interests away from “personal interests, or interests that are related to district, party or narrow tribal affiliation”.

“The interest of the homeland and its citizens supersedes all differences and considerations. Hence, our ultimate goals should define the relationship between the two authorities: Realising the biggest share of public interest, facing up to all challenges, whether political, economic or social, providing a decent life for citizens and realising comprehensive development that guarantees a bright future for this homeland."

The 2003-2007 Parliament traded accusations with governments, with each side blaming the other for slow or lack of implementation of reform agendas.

In the Speech from the Throne, the King criticised the previous Parliament as well as former governments for impeding reform policies.

"I have noted that in years past, the government has not implemented all the projects and plans required of them, in spite of the availability of the necessary funding for these projects. On the other hand, the legislature hampered the government's work by delaying the endorsement of requisite legislation."

In order to turn the Kingdom into an economic hub to attract investors, His Majesty said it was important to increase the economic growth rate, enhance financial and monetary stability, handle the debt problem, rationalise expenditure, boost Jordan's self-reliance, and other economic measures.

With the economic situation taking its toll on living standards of a large portion of the population, the King declared next year will be the "year of housing" whereby citizens with low income, including public servants and security personnel, will have access to "decent housing".

He said the government will work in the coming months on providing a social safety net and expand health insurance coverage.

The King stressed the need to increase the income of citizens to improve living conditions, noting it was paramount to achieve "just distribution" of funds and improve health and education services in rural areas, the badia and refugee camps.

In light of recent incidents of mass food poisoning and water contamination in a number of towns, the Monarch called on the government to "actively monitor" the quality of food products, drugs and water.

To realise the envisaged reforms, high transparency and accountability is key, the King said, telling Parliament and the government they should work on passing a law concerning a national ombudsman and pieces of legislation related to human rights, the rights of women and children, the protection of youth and adolescents and to encourage investment and tax reform.

The King singled out the Landlords and Tenants Law that needs to be reviewed to "take into consideration the realisation of social security, justice and the interests of all, whether they are landlords or tenants".

The controversial law, scheduled to go into effect in 2010, is seen by many as unfair to a large sector of the society as it will empower landlords to raise rents according to their discretion.

On political reform, the King said the country needs to instil awareness of a democratic culture, and see the emergence of political parties that are loyal to the country rather than being servants of external agendas.

"This demands entrenchment of the principles of justice, equality and equal opportunity on the basis of merit, rooting these principles and concepts in our national culture and transforming them from the realm of mere talk into the reality of work, away from doubting and posturing.”

The King also pledged that the media would be free to exercise its rights to "uncover truth", saying he was against sending “a journalist to prison for a difference in opinion on a public issue, as long as this opinion does not entail abusing the rights of others, their freedoms, honour or dignity".

On regional issues, the King stressed the need for the Palestinian and Iraqi peoples to unite in order to reach their goals. He also sent Israel a clear message that it will not achieve peace without the complete withdrawal from Arab lands and abide by international legitimacy.

"We emphatically tell Israel that ending the occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands, withdrawing therefrom and implementing legitimate international resolutions are the only way to realise just, permanent and comprehensive peace."

 

3 December 2007