Jordan’s King Abdullah (R) receives a sword as a gift from a member of the influential Jordanian Abbadi tribe at Wadi Seer area in Amman, Wednesday. Abbadi tribal leaders pledged support for the reform efforts in the kingdom. — ReutersAMMAN
— Jordan’s King Abdullah, under pressure to meet popular demands for political changes, is pushing to hold crucial early elections before the end of 2012 but his opponents say his reforms do not go far enough.
A week after appointing a new government to replace one he deemed too slow to act on reforms, King Abdullah Monday approved an Independent Elections Commission to oversee the polls, headed by former UN special envoy to Libya and career diplomat, Abdul Ilah Al-Khatib. “Jordan has a historic opportunity to determine its future this year,” the king told lower house deputies, urging them to work with the government on laws governing political parties, elections and a constitutional court.
“All these efforts will be meaningless if they do not result in holding fair and transparent parliamentary elections before the end of this year,” a palace statement quoted him as saying. Jordanian officials insist the king is “determined and very serious” about reforms, but others, including the influential opposition Islamists, charge that steps taken to introduce political changes are still “marginal.”
Laws on political parties and elections should be approved by parliament during its current session, which the king has extended to June 25 to pass key legislation. “The electoral law is now in the hands of parliament. Political powers and MPs should start a dialogue in order to choose the agreement on the law,” said Samih Maaytah, Information Minister and government spokesman. — AFP