House Legal Committee deliberates on draft constitutional amendments

(Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Lower House of Parliament’s Legal Committee met on Monday to discuss progress made in drafting the constitutional amendments proposed by the government. The meeting is part of a series of discussions that began on Tuesday with legal professionals and scholars to scrutinize the legality of the 2021 proposed amendments to the Constitution.  اضافة اعلان

“The committee has sought to reach the highest level of consensus on the draft amendments before referring them to the House,” said chair committee Abdul-Munem Odat as he opened the meeting.

He said the draft amendments to the Constitution would pave the way for the new election and political parties laws, as proposed by the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System. “Together, the two drafts will introduce a road map for comprehensive political reforms,” he said.

“The amendments that were proposed by the government aim to establish a legal basis for the establishment of the National Security and Foreign Policies Council,” according to an earlier statement by Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh

According to the government, the draft document aims to reinforce the rule of law, ensure the separation of power of the three authorities; government, Parliament, and judiciary, and to safeguard the independence of Parliament and its oversight role.  Provisions were also proposed to empower women and persons with disabilities to assert their roles as active members of society.

Lawmaker Imad Adwan told Jordan News that the amendments also introduce provisions on the service term of the House speaker, reducing it to one year from the current two-year term, in addition to laws relating to the political immunity of parliamentarians and ministers.

Adwan said that the ongoing discussions involve applying extensive legal analysis and evaluation to the proposed amendments and comprise the input of some constitutional experts “to determine if the proposed amendments should remain unchanged, or if some should be altered or deleted, before being sent to Parliament.”

According to Adwan, there are lawmakers who have a number of notable disagreements on a variety of issues relating to the amendments. “Their concerns will be heard and considered under the appropriate parliamentary procedures,” he said.

He added that the final decision would be reached through a vote, “whereby lawmakers can choose to approve, reject or modify these proposed constitutional amendments after they engage in a debate to dissect every aspect of the document,” he said.

The Legal Committee will continue to convene in the coming days, and according to Adwan, it is difficult to determine when the committee members will complete deliberations exactly.  “It could take a week to ten days before referring the amendments to parliament for a final vote.”

Lawmaker Omar Zyoud told Jordan News that since an amended election law is on the table as part of proposed political reforms, it is crucial to ensure congruence between legislation and the Constitution.  

“These amendments focus on political reform and will bring benefit to citizens, because political reform will inevitably lead to more reforms across multiple sectors, whether it’s economic, administrative or social reform. All Jordanians are for comprehensive reforms, so this is desirable,” he said.

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