Jordan King pledges parliamentary reform
Amman: King Abdullah II on Sunday vowed reforms leading to parliamentary government and a tougher fight against anti-corruption, warning against "chaos" and the media creating a climate of "hatred”.
In his first televised address since pro-reform protests began in January, the King pledged a new electoral law that would result in "a Parliament with active political party representation... that allows the formation of governments based on parliamentary majority... in the future”.
"The practical approach to this meets the constitutional review now being undertaken by the royal committee I recently tasked to explore possible amendments appropriate for Jordan`s present and future," he said.
The opposition, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm the Islamic Action Front, wants sweeping reforms, including a new electoral law that would lead to a parliamentary system of government and elected prime minister.
But the King said "no one in Jordan has a monopoly on reform or its promotion”.
"We seek a state of democracy, pluralism and participation through political reforms... away from the dictates of the street and the absence of the voice of reason," he added.
Reiterating his "firm" fight against corruption, the King warned that dealing with it "on the basis of rumours and gossip... mars Jordan`s reputation both regionally and internationally, negatively affecting any endeavour to attract investment."
"We want a media that can carry the message of freedom and reform, optimise the accomplishments of our country and protect national unity and the relationship among Jordanians," he said.
"I take this opportunity to warn of the deterioration of political and media discourse into one that aims to trigger hatred," the king added.
He said Jordanians should be "aware of the difference between the required democratic transformations and achievable ones on the one hand, and the risks of chaos" on the other.
The country`s media have reported on several alleged corruption cases as well as a convicted tycoon who was allowed to leave for the United States for medical treatment, but was later spotted in a London restaurant.
The King has urged the government to "protect the innocent victims of slander and hatred”, including members of his own family.
Since January, Jordan has been facing a protest movement demanding political and economic reforms and an end to corruption.
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