HM King Abdullah II Interview

HM King Abdullah II gave an interview with Al Rai newspaper on October 9th 2005. Here are some of the interesting excerpts (that are more politically oriented) from that interview. The National Agenda: The Next Step…

AL RAI: Having said that, will the recommendations of the National Agenda Committee be submitted to a public referendum or to the two houses of Parliament? Where does the National Agenda stand vis-à-vis the Constitution?

HM KING ABDULLAH: There is no need for a referendum because this contradicts the Constitution. We have assigned the members of the committee to undertake this national mission and they undertook their duties superbly. We hold them in high respect for their hard work and extraordinary efforts. The next step is that we shall direct the government to study all the recommendations, principles and ideas agreed on by the committee members. Of course there have been controversial issues like the election law. The principles to govern such legislation are not yet agreed, and the government might think that this subject needs more dialogue. The government will study these recommendations and set priorities before they are translated into programs and legislation that will be subjected to constitutional process.

On the West Bank Rumors…

AL RAI: There is talk in political and partisan circles about the objective of dividing the country into three or more regions. Could Your Majesty give us the final say on this matter so as to put an end to rumors and gossip?

HM KING ABDULLAH: The primary goal behind the formation of the Royal Committee on Administrative Divisions is to advance economic development at the local level. We have sensed a need to engage people in the governorates in the economic and developmental decision-making process to boost economic growth rates in these districts and reduce poverty and unemployment. In fact, the people on the ground are the most able to assess their developmental needs. We did not want planning to be limited exclusively to the centre, i.e., the capital, but to be extended to all parts of the Kingdom. We have asked the committee to study the prospects of setting up mini-legislatures in the central, northern and southern regions to handle planning and oversee their respective regions’ economic and developmental needs. Again, if the committee decides that dividing the Kingdom into three regions would serve our objectives, a proposal to do so would be submitted to the government for consideration, and the recommendations would pass through the appropriate constitutional channels. However, the rumors claiming that the decision would pave the way for a Jordanian role in the West Bank as a fourth region are absolutely incorrect and groundless.

On Corruption…

AL RAI: Your Majesty, you have tasked the government with setting up an independent commission to combat corruption. Do you think that this body would really be able to fight corruption, expose the corrupt and limit the phenomena of wasta and favoritism?

HM KING ABDULLAH: Certainly, corruption is the foe of development, progress and modernization in any country. I am sure that Jordan is not among the countries where corruption can be described as a phenomenon. In fact, Jordan is pioneering among the world’s countries in fighting corruption, and indictors show that it has made progress towards that end. Yes, there are wasta and favoritism, and they are a social phenomenon that we all need to fight by closing the doors leading to it and educating people on its negative impact. The decision to establish an anti-corruption commission was made to achieve this goal. Its mission will, God willing, crystallize after the law governing its work is endorsed.

On the future of Political Parties…

AL RAI: Political parties, whose number exceed 30, have been for the past years advised to merge. But they did not. Will the reform process continue in accordance to Your Majesty’s vision, or will the political development process remain hostage to personal agendas and reactionary forces?

HM KING ABDULLAH: The reform process is irreversible. It stems from our conviction that our people always deserve the best. In the world of today, we cannot stop and turn a blind eye to developments around us and in the world. But this process cannot take place overnight. In fact, reform is not a government decision, but rather a collective effort derived from best practices from countries around the world and from the conviction that reform is necessary. In reform, there are no winners and losers. Every one should win. As for the political parties, I have said on several occasions that the fragmentation and large number of parties do not serve the reform process. They are obstacles in its way. I look forward to the day when we have three or four powerful parties that represent the major intellectual schools in the country and advance national economic, political and social programs that are derived from the realities of Jordan and its people. To have parties with links across the borders or those who prioritize the concerns of others ahead of ours cannot help develop and enrich political life, and is not acceptable, either.

[Full Interview]

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