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      Jordan’s King Abdullah Seeks to Preempt Next Uprising

      King Abdullah of Jordan, worried about the Muslim Arab Spring spreading to his kingdom, promises democratic reforms – but sets no date.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 6/13/2011, 12:57 PM / Last Update: 6/13/2011, 3:03 PM

      King Abdullah II of Jordan, worried about the Muslim Arab Spring spreading to his kingdom, has promised democratic reforms – but has set no date.

      He promised Jordanians in a televised address Sunday that a "future" government will be elected instead of appointed by the king. The king appoints his cabinet ministers and can dissolve parliament, which is elected by the people.  

      He stated his “opposition to chaos that leads to destruction” and warned against the “dictates of the street.”

      Jordan already has faced several protests in the kingdom, where most of the population is comprised of Bedouin and Palestinian Arabs. Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and other Israeli nationalists have declared that Jordan, and not Israel, is the natural home of the Palestinian Authority. King Abdullah has thoroughly rejected the idea.

      His promised reforms are aimed at staving off the spread of the rebellions that have toppled or threaten the heads of the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria. His promises represent the first time he has outlined concessions to Jordanians, many of whom have demanded that he surrender much of his power. There have been few calls, for the time being, for the demise of the Hashemite monarchy, which is widely respected in the country.

      Even the radical Muslim Brotherhood has said that King Abdullah is a “stabilizing influence,” but has called for reforms “avoid the tragedies taking place in the region.”

      King Abdullah’s speech came during festivities that marked the anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt, Army Day and Coronation Day.

      He also promised more rights for women. “In terms of social reform, I stress the importance of accelerating efforts to abolish all forms of discrimination against women in the legislative system through the political and representative institutions that emanated from our vision for a new, reformed Jordan,” he told the people.