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King rejects decentralization bill for 'unconstitutionality'

By JT - Oct 19,2015 - Last updated at Oct 19,2015

The Parliament-endorsed decentralisation bill was unconstitutional and so His Majesty King Abdullah returned it to the House (Petra file photo)

AMMAN – His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday referred the 2015 decentralization bill back to the Lower House on grounds of its incompatibility with the Constitution.

The King cited the reform-oriented bill's discord with the Constitutional Court's interpretation of Article 121 of the Constitution, according to a Royal Court statement.

In the statement listing the reasons for withholding his endorsement of the draft law, the King cited Paragraph A of Article 6 of the law concerning the establishment of governorate councils as incompatible with the Constitutional Court's ruling, the statement said.

Asked for interpretation of Article 121 of the Constitution by the Lower House, the    Constitutional Court has issued a ruling stipulating that any units or councils established under a law should be administratively and financial independent from the central government.

 The said article stipulates that the affairs of municipal and local councils should be administered by municipal or local councils in accordance with laws enacted specifically for that purpose.

As it deliberated the law, the Senate reworded Paragraph A of Article 6 to read:" Each governorate shall have a council called 'governorate council'". The senators removed from the said provision the House-added phrase that the councils established under the law should enjoy complete financial and administrative independence. 

In September, the two Houses of Parliament passed the 20-article decentralisation bill in a joint session after they disagreed twice on several provisions. As the Constitutional Court's opinion supported the deputies' version, the Parliament's final say was unconstitutional.  

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