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Jordan Politics

State and politics

The conflict with Israel and the large proportion of Palestinian people in Jordan have affected political life. In 2006, according to UNRWA, there were over 1.8 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan (since the 1948 war) and another 160,000 Palestinians, who fled to Jordan in the context of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Most of these today have Jordanian citizenship.

Political System of Jordan

According to the 1952 Constitution, Jordan is a monarchy. Formally, the King and Parliament, which consists of the Senate and House of Representatives, have the legislative power. The King appoints Senate members and Prime Minister. He also has the right to dissolve parliament and postpone the elections, a right he invoked by 2007. In practice, the king has ruled more or less single-handedly. The constitution has been out of order for a long time; instead, laws of war with some interruptions have prevailed. Open criticism of the regime has not been tolerated. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how JO can stand for Jordan.

Political parties were banned in 1957 following a royal coup. Palestinian radicalism and nationalism, as well as dissatisfaction with Jordan's Western-friendly politics and attempts to settle with Israel, have put the kings' political balance art to the test and posed a constant challenge to their authority. However, Jordan's security service is very effective, and the Kings have managed to assert their and Jordan's position. Of many, especially the King's faithful Bedouins, Jordan's original residents, the royal house is also seen as a unifying symbol.

In the summer of 1988, Jordan broke all ties with the West Bank. A new electoral law was adopted in 1989, and elections took place the same autumn. Multi-party systems were introduced in 1992, and in 1993 elections were held under democratic forms. Muslim Brotherhood's newly formed party, the Islamic Front of Action, IAF, captured 18 seats. The majority of the 80 seats of the House of Representatives were won by so-called independent, in practice conservative and loyal members to the royal power. Of the mandate, only 14 went to Palestinians, while for the first time a woman was elected. The election result was a prerequisite for the 1994 peace agreement with Israel. This peace treaty has been heavily criticized by the Jordanian opposition. In 1996, bread ravages broke out in Jordanian cities and in 1997 the censorship of the mass media tightened. The 1997 parliamentary elections were then boycotted by the opposition, both by the IAF and by the left and important trade unions. These objected to the 1993 election laws, based on the principle of "one man, one vote". These electoral laws strongly over-represent the rural electoral district, with its royal population, at the same time as the urban districts,

At the death of King Hussein in February 1999, he was succeeded by his son Abdullah II. Abdullah inherited an unpopular peace agreement with Israel, strained relations with the two other powerful neighboring states Iraq and Syria, a weak economy and an internal democratization process that has been locked. However, Abdullah has maneuvered skilfully in the crusade of the Palestinian intifada and Israel's hard-fought attempt to crush this uprising in the west as well as the crises surrounding neighboring Iraq in the east.

Opposition criticism has increased since the country also has financial problems. Until 2003, Jordan was severely affected by UN sanctions on Iraq, which was then Jordan's most important trading partner. Mainly, Iraq provided Jordan with heavily subsidized oil. Since 2003, these imports have almost completely ceased while the United States has become the most important trading partner. The country's rapid population growth, one of the highest in the world, plus the huge refugee immigration from Iraq, puts a severe strain on Jordan's economy.

One sign of the country's relative political stability was the parliamentary elections in November 2007. The House of Representatives has been expanded to 110 members. Of these, nine are reserved for the country's Christians and three for the Cherkess minority and six for women. The turnout was 54%. The changed electoral laws led to the participation of the Islamists again. Although the Islamic Front of Action once again became the largest party group in the lower house, with only six deputies and 5.5% of the votes, compared with 17 deputies and 10.7% of the votes in 2003. The other party groups appeared to be very loosely cohesive. "Independent" candidates won 98 of the seats, most of them tribal representatives and more or less loyal to the regime. One woman managed to win one of the 104 unquoted "open" mandates.

Judiciary

The judiciary in Jordan consists of small court, general courts, appellate courts and a supreme court, to which are added some religious courts for family law cases. The Supreme Court functions both as a court of discretion and as a central court for certain types of cases. In its structure, the law in Jordan is influenced by both English and continental European legal traditions, while the content of the legal rules is to a considerable extent derived from Islamic law. The death penalty is punished for some serious crimes.

Human Rights

Jordan is one of the most politically liberal countries in the Arab world, but it has not protected the country from the popular demonstrations that drew across the region in the so-called Arab Spring.

Since 2011, recurrent popular uprisings have demanded various political and economic reforms. In addition to anger over widespread corruption and impunity, the uprising has been directed at serious restrictions on freedom of expression which limit the ability of citizens and the media to criticize the government's policies and its officials.

Restrictions on freedom of assembly and association result in repeated arrests of protesters. Jordanian law also criminalizes statements that are considered critical of the king, government officials, or institutions such as Islam. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2015, the country is ranked 143 out of 180 with a clear falling trend from the previous year.

Islamic law dominates family law which puts many women in a vulnerable situation. In the event of a divorce, the woman loses the right to her child after the child reaches the age of seven. The country's penal code significantly reduces the penalty for cases of honor violence.

Jordan is the only Arab country that grants citizenship to Palestinian refugees to a large extent, and UN-led schooling for Palestinian children on the run is also provided.

Heads of State

Emir
1921-46 Abdullah
Kings
1946-51 Abdullah
1951-52 Talal
1952-99 Hussein
1999- Abdullah II
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