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Real reform starts with citizen engagement — King

By JT - Aug 15,2016 - Last updated at Aug 15,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Amman on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah said that Real reform starts with citizens themselves, the moment they take the decision to participate in the legislative elections and elect qualified candidates to represent them in Parliament.

It is the responsibility of voters to elect the most qualified candidate to represent them, he told Ad-Dustour’s Chief Editor Mohammad Hasan Tal in an interview published Monday.

King Abdullah said the new Elections Law would improve the electoral process and provide an opportunity to advance reform, saying that the ticket system is expected to lead to platform-based, pluralist coalitions and alliances that will make it to Parliament and contribute to further reforms.

Change can only be achieved through the ballot box, the King said, and those seeking reform should work to realise it. 

His Majesty noted that parliamentary elections will be followed by municipal and governorate councils’ elections, which will be held next year under the new municipalities and decentralisation laws, describing the latter as “a very important link in the chain of reforms” as it will ensure local administrations greater powers to identify development priorities.

On the terror threat, the Monarch said terrorist attempts against Jordan’s security will never affect its commitment to fighting terrorism and the Khawarej, or outlaws of Islam. He underlined the importance of national unity and public vigilance as the country stands up to face perils.

King Abdullah said Jordan is a unique model of coexistence built on compassion, harmony, coexistence and mutual respect among the one united Jordanian family, both Muslims and Christians.

“We will not allow or tolerate attempts by some to promote extremist ideas that are alien to our culture, religion and values. Such ideas have no place in our society. We will not tolerate anyone who attempts to sow division or offend our religion or any religion. They are the enemies of every Jordanian, enemies of our country and our fundamental principles,” he stressed.

On the other hand, achieving justice for all and ensuring the rule of law are core responsibilities and duties, according to the King, who stressed that any attempt to violate the law will be dealt with firmly.

On the refugee burden, His Majesty said that no one can question the noble humanitarian role of Jordan towards refugees, urging the international community to be a full partner in shouldering the responsibility.

Our priority, His Majesty added, is to create jobs in governorates, especially refugee-hosting communities.

Commenting on the decision to declare the northern and north-eastern borders closed military zones, he said the move came following several warnings by Jordan that extremist elements exist among makeshift camps near the border. 

“Our national security tops our priorities and is above all other considerations.”

Asked about economic challenges, the King said that he firmly believes that Jordanians are able to transform challenges into opportunities, adding that he was fully aware of the difficulties and concerns people face as a result of the economic situation, but he advised against “frustration and underperformance”. 

At the regional level, King Abdullah reiterated that the only solution to the conflict in Syria is an inclusive political one that involves all components of the Syrian people. “We hope that cooperation between the US and Russia helps end all hostilities in Syria.”

He re-asserted that the Palestinian issue is Jordan’s primary cause and a national interest.

King Abdullah noted that Jordan is dealing with “repeated violations and transgressions by Israel and extremist groups and their blatant attempts to change the status quo in Jerusalem, including its landmarks, heritage and historical identity, as well as attempts to violate the rights of the Arab residents, make their lives difficult and force them to leave, in addition to tampering with Islamic and Christian holy sites”.

 

“We will persist in undertaking our religious and historical responsibilities towards Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.”

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