For the second time since he took the throne in 1999, Jordanian King Abdullah II dissolved parliament and called for early parliamentary elections. According to the Jordanian Royal Court, the decision took effect on Nov. 24. The date for the new elections has not yet been set.
A number of Jordanian politicians have called for an amendment to the election law, which the opposition, particularly Islamists, consider unjust. Jordanian officials have not ruled out the possibility that the election law will be amended before the next elections are held.
The Jordanian media have become increasingly critical of parliament in recent months, contending that it lacks “seriousness” and reporting alleged corruption by its members.
The media and political observers welcomed the king’s decision, describing the step as wise and timely. They predicted that the decision would restore prestige to the legislature, which had lost a measure of respect as a result of internal conflicts among parliamentary blocs acting out of self-interest. These sources expect that the elections will be held next year according to the current law. It is possible that minor amendments will be made to the elections law. However, these changes will not affect the principle of voting, but rather the issue of electoral districts and seats. The Jordanian constitution stipulates that the government must set a date for these elections.
The Jordanian National Assembly is a bicameral legislature consisting of two bodies, the Assembly of Senators and the parliament, consisting of 110 representatives elected every four years. The king, in accordance with the Jordanian constitution, appoints the senators.
The last parliamentary election in Jordan was held on Nov. 20, 2007. Candidates loyal to the government won an overwhelming majority, and parliament was expected to continue its work until 2011.
Jordan’s first parliament was chosen in 1947 and nine successive formations of parliament were elected until 1978, when the National Advisory Council replaced it until 1984. The three councils each served two-year terms.