Democracy and Human Rights

Jordan’s Progress

We in Jordan have sought, over the past years, to enhance our democratic process of which we are proud. We are keen to make it an example and a model. We seek to consolidate its foundations, and to open horizons before it. This we do through our total conviction that this is the path that we have selected for ourselves, in freedom and good faith. We believe that it is one of the foundations for this country’s strength, while it is based on the Constitution, and while it derives inspiration from the spirit of the National Charter, which gained the consensus of all political and cultural tendencies in this country. We realized from the beginning that true democracy must be based on the separation between the legislative, executive, and judicial authorities, with each authority observing its limits, and not infringing on the others. We observed the necessity to hold parliamentary elections on time, in accordance with the law, and in a spirit of fairness, honest competition, and freedom of political action on the basis of pluralism that is committed to the principle of responsible national dialogue.

Address to the Meeting of Arab Political Parties
December 16, 1996


We are fully aware of the obstacles and difficulties that stand in the way of this country's progress. They consist of the lack of resources, and modest means. Yet, at the same time, we realize that the Jordanian citizen who is educated, qualified, committed and diligent is our asset and our means of overcoming these difficulties. He is the tool of development, and his good is its objective.

Address to Mo’tah University
Karak, Jordan
May, 1996


Jordan will continue its endeavor to create a model of social, political and economic stability which, we hope, will act as a positive example. The Jordanian National Charter, ratified in 1991, reflects a Jordanian consensus for democracy, pluralism, basic freedoms, gender equity, human rights, and a free market economy. Since the adoption of the National Charter, successive Jordanian governments have sought to implement its tenets into the daily life of our people.

Address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Strasbourg, France
September 25, 1995


We can rightfully ask ourselves about the measure of our achievements in the face of the national setbacks and upheavals which have beset our nation and world in these turbulent times. We thank God that we have achieved a great deal. We have established in this land the foundations of a modern democratic state. This was due to God's bounty in the first place, and also to the positive response of this noble people, who, regardless of their origins and habitats, have been aware of the message, cognizant of their role, and conscious of the challenges they have had to meet. It has likewise been due to a unified vision shared by the leadership and the people over a whole century. We should strive for a further strengthening of these foundations and for a further release of energy. We should build up a new life in this democratic climate, so that Jordan could remain a land of the free and the proud who bow their heads only to God; a land of responsibility whose people recognize balance in all things, especially between rights and obligations; a land of celebrity which is capable of forging ahead in times of deepest darkness and profoundest challenges; a land of integrity enjoyed by every one of its own citizens, as well as by the free who seek its protection, and by the true who seek to join their people's quest to preserve the nation's right to life and to lead it out of its disarray, weakness, despair and loss, to forge a unified, free, dignified and immortal nation.

Address to the Nation
November 5, 1992


The quality of life of the individual citizen is the ultimate yardstick by which to measure the success of any government. Jordan’s development record, though impressive by many standards, was always hampered not only by the ongoing conflict, but also by the scarcity of resources. Our answer was to invest in our most precious asset, the individual citizen.

Address at the University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Canada
October 11, 1989


Many believe that we are knocking on the doors of a new era only because we are resuming our democratic parliamentary life. I see some truth to that, yet not the entire truth. Our parliamentary life was suspended for only a short period of time, but general elections have been absent throughout the past twenty years. As for the underlying causes, the facts are well known to all of you. It started when it was impossible to hold such elections after the West Bank fell under Israeli occupation in June 1967. Had it not been for that, elections would have been held in 1971 with the end of the mandate of the parliament elected in April 1967. Out of our deep concern for securing a wide popular participation under those unusual circumstances, we adopted every measure within the parameters of the constitution to substitute for a duly elected parliament. We had, for instance, legally extended the mandate of the 1967 parliament. Then at a later stage, we amended the Electoral Law to allow for the election of new members whose seats became vacant at the death of those from the West Bank, originally elected in 1967. When it became apparent that, ten years after it was elected, this parliament had lost its representative nature and was in no position to offer the people the chance to express their opinion through their representatives, we initiated the National Consultative Council, selecting its members from representatives of various sectors of society and regions, in adherence to the principles of Shura (the Islamic concept of democratic consultation in government) which we never abandoned. In spite of all that, we were convinced that the National Consultative Council could not be a substitute for a freely elected parliament. When we realized that we were about to face a constitutional problem due to the continuing difficult situation, we reinstated parliament, filling the vacant seats of the West Bank, while holding by-elections in the East Bank.

This situation continued until new circumstances arose as a result of the blessed intifada of the Palestinian people. This became a significant factor on the international and regional political arenas, and the objective was the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. We have always believed that emphasizing the national identity of the Palestinian people on the land of Palestine was the best support we could offer to its valiant uprising against the expansionist occupation. Therefore, in response to the wishes of the PLO and the decision of Arab countries, we took the decision to sever the legal and administrative ties with the West Bank on July 31, 1988. A consequence of this decision for Jordan was the removal of impediments to holding general parliamentary elections. The electoral law was consequently amended to conform to the new situation. We are, therefore, preparing for general elections for the first time since 1967. This means, among other things, that citizens between 19 and 41 years of age will be able to exercise their democratic rights for the very first time in their lives.

Address on the Eve of the General Elections
October 7, 1989