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Lower House continues deliberations over draft constitutional amendments

By JT - Jan 03,2022 - Last updated at Jan 03,2022

Lawmakers are seen during a Lower House session on Monday (Photo by Hassan Tamimi)

AMMAN — The Lower House on Monday continued deliberations on draft constitutional amendments.

During the session, headed by Lower House Speaker Abdulkarim Dughmi, MPs with a majority of 115 votes approved adding three items to Paragraph 2 of Article 40 of the Constitution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The amendments are related to instances where the King can exercise his authority through a Royal Decree, granting the King the authority to appoint, accept the resignation and end the services of the supreme judge, head of the sharia judicial council, grand mufti, Royal Court chief, Royal Court minister and advisers to the King. 

The Chamber also scrapped an item added by the government related to the King’s appointment of two members of the National Security and Foreign Policy Council, and deleted the phrase "Gendarmerie director" mentioned in Paragraph 2 and replaced it with "Public Security Directorate".  

During the session, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh said that amendments related to the powers of the King completely accord with the Constitution citing Article 45 that reads: “The Council of Ministers shall be entrusted with the responsibility of administering all affairs of the State, internal and external, with the exception of such matters as are or may be entrusted by the present Constitution or by any other legislation to any other person or body”. 

He also referred to Article 26 of the Constitution that reads: "The Executive Power shall be vested in the King, who shall exercise his powers through his ministers in accordance with the provisions of the present Constitution."

The prime minister stressed that appointment with a sole Royal Decree “does not spare ministers from accountability”, noting that “these amendments lay the foundation for a new era to form governments with a parliamentary majority”. 

He pointed out that the Royal Court minister is a title of a post within the structure of the Royal Court and is not a member of the Cabinet. 

The lawmakers with a majority of 117 votes amended Article 44 of the Constitution that reads: "No Minister, while holding his Ministerial office, may purchase or lease any State property even if the sale or lease thereof has been offered in public auction. He shall not, while holding his Ministerial office, become a member of the board of directors of any company or take part in any commercial or financial transaction or receive a salary from any company."

Also during Monday’s session, the majority of the House with 110 votes approved amending Article 53 of the Constitution, making it the requirement of the signatures of 25 per cent of the members of the Chamber mandatory to hold a vote of confidence on the Cabinet or any minister, instead of 10 lawmakers.

Also, 97 deputies approved amending Paragraph 2 of Article 54, banning the prime minister who fails to win the confidence of the House from forming a second government. 

Meanwhile, 102 lawmakers rejected a government amendment to Article 56, allowing the trial of former ministers directly before a court and maintained the article on the right of the Lower House to refer former and current ministers to the attorney general’s office.

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