House approves draft amendments to the Constitution

Speaker term limited to one year

2. Lower House
Parliament debated several Constitutional amendments on Tuesday. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN –– The Lower House Tuesday debated draft amendments to the Constitution during a session chaired by Speaker Abdul Karim Al-Doghmi, in the attendance of Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh and Cabinet members, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.اضافة اعلان

Lawmakers approved the amendment of item C of paragraph 1 of Article 61 of the Constitution, giving the decision-maker the power to select Constitutional Court members from specialists (not a single specialist) who meet the conditions for membership in the Senate, while increasing the length of service in the legal profession required for appointment in the Constitutional Court from 15 to 20 years, in addition to changing the name of the Higher Court of Justice to the Higher Administrative Court.

The House also amended Article 64 on the conditions for membership of the Senate to include: prime ministers, former ministers, those who occupied leadership positions, Lower House speakers, presidents and judges of the Court of Cassation, Supreme Administrative Court, Sharia Supreme Court and Constitutional Court, in addition to retired officers from the rank of major general onwards, former MPs who were elected at least twice to parliament, and those who are similar to those who have obtained the people’s trust and accreditation with their deeds and services to the nation.

The lawmakers agreed to add new powers to the Independent Election Commission, including dealing with applications to set up political parties, instead of the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, after paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution was amended, and its text became: "An independent commission shall be established by law entrusting it with the administration of parliamentary, municipal and any general elections in accordance with the provisions of the law, and that the Council of Ministers may assign the Independent Election Commission to administer or supervise any other elections at the request of the legally authorized party to conduct those elections, and to consider requests to establish political parties and follow up on their affairs according to the provisions of the law."

The legislature also approved amended Article 69, which sets the Lower House speakership's term at one solar year, instead of two, and grants MPs the right to depose their Speaker upon a decision by two thirds of members, address cases when the position of Speaker of the House falls vacant, whether by resignation, death, dismissal or any other reason. In such case, the Deputy Speaker will take over the speakership until a new Speaker is elected within a period of two weeks from the date of the vacancy. If the House is not in session, it will be summoned into extraordinary session to elect a Speaker to complete the term of the speakership, and the Speaker's resignation is considered valid from the date of its submission to the General Secretariat of the House.

Doghmi came out in favor of the amendment to Article 69, calling it "important and progressive", and urging deputies to vote for it as it gives the House members the right to vote by a two-thirds majority to unseat the speaker of the Lower House.

Some 110 MPs voted for amended Article 70, which reduces the age of candidacy for the Lower House from 30 to 25, along with the membership conditions stipulated in the election law, to promote the participation of young people.

The House also voted by a majority of 99 votes for the amendment of Article 71, which assigns the power to decide on the validity of the representation of members of the Lower House to the Court of Cassation, instead of the three courts of appeal.

According to paragraph 1 of amended Article 71, the Court of Cassation has the right to rule on the validity of the representation of members of the House in accordance with the provisions of the law, provided that the appeal is submitted within 15 days from the date of publication of the election results in the Official Gazette, and the court must decide on the appeal within a period not exceeding 30 days from the date of filing the appeal.

The legislature resumes its deliberations of the remaining 30 articles of the draft amendments to the national constitution after approving 17 in 6 sessions held over the past three days.

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