By Samir Bennis
By Samir Bennis
Morocco World News
New York, August 18, 2011
The European Union welcomed in a statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, the constitutional amendments announced Sunday by King Abdullah II of Jordan, expressing support for the reform process.
“The European Union welcomes His Majesty King Abdullah II’s announcement of the proposed constitutional amendment in Jordan. Strengthening citizens’ rights and the independence of the judiciary are positive steps in the reform process” said Catherine Ashton in a press statement issued on Wednesday.
She went to stress that “the European Union looks forward to the parliament’s adoption of the constitutional amendment within the stated timeframe. Building on our strong political and economic partnership, the
European Union stands ready to support Jordan on its reform path to meet the aspirations of the Jordanian people”.
King Abdullah II announced Sunday the recommendations of the Commission for the revision of the constitution, including the establishment of a constitutional court, an independent commission to monitor elections and lowering the minimum age for elected to Parliament at age 25.
“Jordan is on the threshold of an era that will make history and will enable the country to go forward with a vision of political and social reform based on greater popular participation and the separation of powers”, said the Jordanian Monarch.
Jordan is following in on the same path as Morocco whose King Mohamed VI had delivered on March 9th a landmark speech in which he announced that Morocco would embark on a reform process. Few days afterwards, he appointed a committee tasked with submitting a draft constitutional reform. The draft of the reform of the constitution was submitted to the King in early June and adopted overwhelmingly in a referendum that was held on July 1st. A new government will be formed in Morocco after legislative elections that will be held on November 25. Both Morocco and Jordan have been invited to join the Gulf Cooperation Council.
It remains to be seen whether King Abdallah II will relinquish some of his prerogatives as a result of the reforms he announced on Sunday.
Since the beginning of demonstrations in Jordan, pro-democracy sectors have called for a reduction in the powers granted to the king, especially the appointment of Prime Minister and the adoption of genuine reforms that pave the way for a constitutional monarchy.