AMMAN, Jordan--(discussion paper presents his vision for a comprehensive process of reform and the continued move towards democratization.)--The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will hold democratic parliamentary elections on January 23, 2013, the first to come since the enactment of major changes to the country’s election laws. In anticipation of this milestone in Jordan’s ongoing reform process, His Majesty King Abdullah II released the first in a series of discussion papers he will be publishing over the coming months. This first
“Now is the time for us to move actively towards key, practical milestones in that journey towards democracy”
Although Jordan has held parliamentary elections before, these are the first to be held under the new election law that allows citizens to cast two votes, one for a district candidate and one for a national candidate. Furthermore, these are the first elections to be managed and supervised by the Independent Elections Commission (previous elections were managed by the Government).
The goal of political reform in Jordan is to promote the role of citizens in political life and the decision-making process. Elections are part of that reform process and road map that was endorsed in 2011, which led to changes to more than one third of the Constitution that has enhanced the separation of powers including that of the Monarchy, the creation of new democratic institutions including a Constitutional Court and an Independent Elections Commission that will manage this and all future elections. Some elections statistics include:
- 71% of eligible voters are registered to vote
- 1425 candidates are running for parliament – a record number
- 191 candidates are women – a record number
In this first discussion paper, King Abdullah II describes in detail his plans for reform, encouraging all residents to participate in the elections to promote a national dialogue that respects differences of opinion and promotes the concept of compromise as a means to achieve real progress on key issues. “Now is the time for us to move actively towards key, practical milestones in that journey towards democracy,” said King Abdullah II. “This election is one of those critical steps and a milestone on the political reform roadmap. Jordanians have the right and the responsibility, and more importantly a national duty, to engage in discussions on key issues related to the economy, the country’s course of reform and a shared vision for the future of our beloved Jordan.”