In August 1993, Parliament passed an amendment to the election law which adjusted Jordans electoral system to the principle of one person, one vote. The new law ended the previous voting system, whereby voters were entitled to as many votes as the number of parliamentary seats allocated for their district.
In this address, which occurred just prior to the parliamentary elections of 1993, King Hussein recalls the rootedness of democratic principles and Shura (the Islamic concept of consultation in government) in the Jordanian National Charter, and urges all Jordanians to elect the person they think best represents them. His Majesty reiterates his oft-stated desire for there to be fewer political groupings, with more reasonable and practical programs, in order to move the country faster toward a more effective democracy. He also presents reasons for the new one person, one vote amendment, as well as for not changing the parliamentary allotments for each electoral district at the current time.
Address on Election Law Amendments
August 17, 1993
(Translated from the original Arabic)
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
Prayers and Peace be upon the Faithful Arab Hashemite Prophet.
Peace be upon you. I greet you all, young and old, men, women and children, for whose sake we work hard, and for the sake of generations to follow. Our work stems from our sense of duty and the fear of Almighty God. In our effort to seek the grace of God, our peace of mind is paramount until the day we die, so that, with our deeds we may stand among the God-fearing and the virtuous, rather than with the hypocrites who suppress justice and are fearful of confronting the oppression of evil.
I greet you, my family, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, wherever you may be; in the cities and the villages, in the badia as well as in the hills, in the Jordan Valley and in Aqaba. I salute all soldiers in our Arab Hashemite Jordanian forces, steadfast on this pure land, which is bedecked with the heritage of our forefathers, and filled with the tombs of our devout martyrs. I greet you wherever you are in this world, where you are keeping the peace with other honorable colleagues, striving, as you do, to rescue the weak from injustice, the poor from hunger, and the free from tyranny and despotism, saving humanity from oppression, spite, and darkness.
I greet you boys and girls, in the schools of Jordan and abroad, as you prepare yourselves for the challenges of life that lie ahead, and in the building of a stronger Jordan. I am proud of you, and proud of being one of you as a Hashemite Arab Jordanian who has lived amongst you for forty years, in both good times and bad. We have always defended and will continue to defend the nation against the greedy and the spiteful. Jordan has always been in a central, yet critical position. Similar to a precious stone, the pressure of events only adds to its glitter and shine. Jordan today is inheriting the best of the nation: chivalry and resolve, freedom, credibility and martyrdom. From this podium I call upon each and every one of you, myself included, to ensure that this beacon is kept alive. This is our national and historical responsibility. I say to you that each one of us should be conscious of the repercussions that would result from the success or failure of our mission.
Our homeland is but a paradigm, that its people, regardless of their origin, are unanimous in their support for its honorable mission: the advancement and protection of the individual, the achievement of freedom and justice securing a stability of life based on the respect and protection of the constitution. Upholding the spirit of democracy or Shura (the Islamic concept of consultation in government), call it what you may, is embodied in your National Charter which aims to achieve political pluralism. It is only a matter of time before political ranks are organized into two, three or four political groupings encompassing well-studied and convincing programs, within the context of the constitution and the National Charter, so that Jordanians can move rapidly toward prosperity and the glory of the nation. I would like to remind you of what I said when I addressed the national congress which acclaimed the National Charter: crowding impedes movement.
In our effort for improvement, the past four years have had some positive as well as some negative aspects. We are now on the threshold of new elections for a new parliament, which we hope will shoulder its responsibilities, at a critical time, both regionally and internationally, so that the new parliament can pass on the responsibilities of the day to its successor. Thus, every stage is but a new addition to an ever stronger edifice. Your awareness of and dedication to achieving what is good for the country and for future generations is central to this effort. Solidarity among yourselves, as well as your continuing hard work, loyalty, and sincere patriotism and nationalism are all prerequisites to success. For failure, God forbid, will not only mean the collapse of our hopes, but it will mean that this steadfast Arab country will be exposed to extinction and oblivion. This would result in the success of the enemies of life and justice and it would mean that Jordan, God forbid, has failed the Arab individual in the Arab world. It will simply mean that Jordan cannot be considered a reliable model for the nation as a whole with regard to its aspirations, capabilities and potential. This is the only path that Jordan can safely follow if it is to prove that it is a living nation.
This is the challenge we face. I speak to all of the voters among you to say that the constitution has rendered you all equal in rights as well as duties. I remind you that the outgoing parliament, whose work is appreciated, was in fact elected on the basis of a temporary law. In my letter, accepting the resignation of the first government in the life of that parliament, I pointed out that the electoral law required careful study, so that loopholes can be dealt with and, eventually, the voterman or womanwill have the opportunity to vote for one candidate. Only the voter can determine who is best suited to represent him/her and express his/her views. It is well known that the relevant constitutional article states that all Jordanians are equal regarding their duties and rights. When I referred to the fact the last elections were held on the basis of a temporary law, I was aware that this required a solution. We are always looking forward. As someone who took an oath, forty years ago, to respect the constitution and serve the nation, I realize that a mistake cannot be dealt with by silence and indifference when the meaning and spirit of the issue become apparent.
Accordingly, we have endorsed a new temporary law stipulating an amendment to the election law submitted by my government, which is charged with holding free elections in this country under my guidance and supervision. I am honored to shoulder my constitutional responsibility towards the three authorities: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The new temporary law entitles the electorate to cast one vote for one candidate in the new lower house of parliament. At this delicate stage, I have taken into consideration the necessity of limiting the amendment to the election law to this aspect, due to my belief that any other amendment that aims at equating the number of the electorate in a constituency with that of another would mean depriving larger parts of the country of the right to effective parliamentary representation, which is necessary to improve their conditions, and ensure equal distribution of Jordan's comprehensive development. This is in addition to the fact that the regional political situation is not yet stable, which would affect the status of Jordan and Jordanians irrespective of their origins. Therefore, the electoral districts will remain unchanged during the upcoming parliamentary general elections. I would like to emphasize that my government and I, as a father and a brother to each citizen, do not support one side over another. I call upon you all to realize that the Arab Hashemite Hussein, who has been honored by Almighty God to be a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah, peace be upon him, is above all worldly titles and positions.
I am concerned with safeguarding the unity of the country; I am also most concerned about our sons, some of whom have been chosen to belong to a front, which they have named, the Islamic front. What I wish for them, and from them, is that they truly practice their historic responsibilities in striving to live up to the name they have chosen, and to proceed, with Allah's help, towards true Islam, in fulfillment of their spiritual and worldly duties, and in the defense of that which is most precious to us against attempts to undermine and distort Islam from within the Islamic Ummah and from without. This duty shall be done through progressing towards Islam, for the glory of the best of peoples, evolved for mankind. And in proof of the truth that Islam is the true religion for the pious believers in Almighty God, the pure, the righteous and the good. This is what is needed and is the reason for their existence, at every time and in every place.
I call upon my brothers to appreciate the meaning of success or failure of our quest which would affect the future of our nation, and the future of man whom God has honored. Thus, I urge them to be loyal and to work sincerely. They have contributed to the drafting of the National Charter and the development of the country alongside all citizens, Muslims and Christians alike.
Fellow Free Jordanians,
As I address you all, members of our one family, and each and every voter, I believe that it is the time for you all to realize that I am working with you and for you. Do not fail yourselves and do not fail me. You should prove that you understand the significance of your responsibilities, not only towards yourselves, but also towards Jordan, the nation, the future and destiny. You should look into your matters thoroughly, and then proceed forward to elect, to our new lower house of parliament, the best the country has to offer.
I pray to Almighty God to grant you success in choosing to this new parliamentafter thorough and objective reviewonly those among you who are well known for their honesty, purity, and true loyalty to Allah and to the nation. Do not be misled by the rigid symbols which are incapable of supporting and enriching the progress of the nation. So elect to this new parliament representatives who reflect your true selves as I have known you: sincere, loyal, honest and capable of excelling and giving. These representatives should be worthy of shouldering the responsibility of representing you to be able to bravely face what lies ahead with courage and awareness and full concern for your interests as well as the interests of generations to come.
We started this nation's development with tolerance and Shura and we continue to tread on the same path today. Democracy in Jordan has become an example and a model, a blessed tree deep-rooted in this beloved Arab land, with its branches reaching towards the horizon of the great homeland. Let us move forward and shoulder our responsibilities, and go forth to the nation with the great call for freedom, unity and human rights. Let each one of us take responsibility for the protection of our chosen path against the danger of the greedy, the fearful and the hypocrites.
We are on the threshold of two great issues: to complete the building of the United Democratic Arab Jordan, and to rebuild the pan-Arab cause, embodied in the Great Arab Revolt in a new and modern context. Do not fail to exercise your right to vote. I shall ensure the integrity and honesty of the elections. They will be the model for the trust that unites us; a trust in the inevitability of the victory of justice and the dawning of a new nation, with our awareness of our historic responsibilities and in our efforts to fulfill our duties in this nation which grows with every challenge, and whose people never bow to anyone but Almighty God. With God's help they will prevail in the face of the enemies of democracy. These enemies who fight democracy in democracy's name, and insist, although they be few, upon curtailing life within us. This is insolence on their part, a doubting of the path of our progress, a distortion of facts, a destruction of the edifice, with a negative outlook and pessimism in their vision. They have, therefore, become preachers of despair and instruments of frustration. So prove to them that you are stronger with the justice that you will uphold, together with the dignity of man and future generations. Proceed with the blessings of Allah, who reveals in the Holy Qur'an:
"It is part of the mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from thee: so pass over (their faults), and ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast taken a decision, put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)".
May the Almighty grant you success, and set you on the right path, for the Almighty is the ultimate protector and helper.
Peace be upon you and God's mercy and blessings.
Address on Election Law Amendments
August 18, 1993