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King Abdullah II Swears in New Government

Jordan's king Abdullah II has sworn in a new government - the second since the Arab Spring migrated to his country earlier this year.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 10/25/2011, 11:14 PM

King Abdullah II of Jordan swore in Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh and his Cabinet on Monday, which is being marketed to the Jordanian people as a 'reformist government.'

In the Letter of Designation, King Abdullah, whose push for political reform in the country began before the Arab Spring, instructed the new government to give priority “the completion of legislation and laws that regulate political life," including the "elections and political parties laws."

“These should be agreed upon through an effective and constructive national dialogue with the entire political spectrum and civic institutions, before they are approved through the established constitutional channels,” the letter said.

The letter also instructed the new government  “must enhance the anti-corruption system so as to deter corruption before it occurs and hold the corrupt accountable without procrastination or delay, irrespective of their position, social status or any other considerations”.

“When a democratic environment, press freedom and freedom of speech are exploited to serve personal agendas and purposes, or to undermine the reform process or national unity, then this is a matter to be referred to the judiciary,” the letter added

The cabinet convened shortly thereafter for its first meeting, during which the new premier outlined several of his foreign policy positions.

Khasawneh told reporters his Cabinet will continue the process of Jordan’s accession to the Gulf Cooperation Council, and enhance the Kingdom’s cooperation with Arab countries, which are seen as key economic levers.

He added the kingdom would continue "to support the Palestinian people in their quest to regain their rights and establish their independent state, and will also continue to safeguard the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Palestine."

He made no reference to King Abdullah's remarks on Monday that Israel's security must be ensured in any future agreements with the Palestinian Authority.

The government is the 94th since the Hashemite kingdom's founding in 1921, the ninth since Abdullah ascended the throne in 1999, and the second since the Arab Spring came to Jordan earlier this year.

Sacking governments during periods of political unrest, called the "Hashemite Shuffle" by some commentators, is a common means of shifting pressure from the Crown.