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Jordanian King concedes right to choose PM

February 17, 2014 at 1:50 am

Jordanian media reported on Friday that Jordan’s elected parliament is to choose the new Prime Minister after King Abdullah II conceded his constitutional right to select the second highest ranking political official in the country.

The King called for the parliamentarians to propose a name that enjoys consensus among them. The person nominated will then be authorised to form the ministerial council.

According to the Jordanian constitution, the King has the right to choose and to fire the Prime Minister. However, this decision shows that he has conceded this right.

The King told Jordanian newspaper Al-Ra’i that it was the first time in the history of Jordan that the Parliament had been given the right to choose a prime minister.

While speaking to attendants of the International Conference of the Donor Countries which met to study the dire situation in Syria, King Abdullah said that if the parliamentarians failed to nominate a prime minister, “the Royal court will intervene to bring a close to the choices of the different blocs.”

The King, who promised before the elections to bring about a kind of change in the system of choosing a prime minister, said: “This is what happens in Belgium and Denmark and they are democratic countries.”

According to the newspaper, Jordanian analysts said that the “Royal decision was surprising but pleasing at the same time.” They expected that it would increase the seclusion of the Islamic Action Front which boycotted the elections because they do not bring any change to the political scene.

The analysts also said that the King had chosen the timing very cleverly so as not to appear to be making decision in response to Islamist demands. On the other hand, “it will cost them [the Islamists] dearly, as they have lost the chance to take part in choosing the prime minister,” the analysts said.

However, as the elections brought 150 parliamentarians to the Jordanian parliament, including 110 seats won for the first time, the King’s decision will not make any change to the political deadlock in the country. It has been said that the decision was no more than a “political manoeuvre”.

Another group of analysts described what happened as a “political manoeuvre” because the overwhelming majority of the parliamentarians are loyal to the King and they will not choose a prime minister who does not fit in with his desires.