AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday entrusted Senator Fayez Tarawaneh with forming a new government after the resignation of outgoing prime minister Awn Khasawneh.
In a letter to Khasawneh following his resignation, King Abdullah criticised the slow pace of the government’s work on reform-related legislation.
In the letter, carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the King said he had directed the government, in its Letter of Designation six months ago, to finalise reform-related legislation as soon as possible, in order to meet the aspirations of the Jordanian people and their real desire for reform, but the government failed to meet that expectation.
“It was a must to complete work on the laws, in accordance with the constitutional amendments endorsed prior to the formation of your government,” the King said.
“Foremost among these are the law on an independent commission to supervise and run elections, the Elections Law and the Municipalities Law, so that we can conduct municipal and parliamentary elections before the end of this year, in addition to the law on political parties and the law on the Constitutional Court,” said the King in the letter.
The Monarch also said in the letter that he had cautioned against this delay more than once during meetings that focused on reform, but the government gave priority to other items of legislation, at the expense of key reform laws.
“Recently, I was surprised by your insistence that there is no need to extend the ordinary session of Parliament, and to postpone the start of the extraordinary session by one month, as well as by the fact that you wanted to deal with a set of draft laws that are not a priority at this stage,” the Monarch said, adding that this would have meant not being able to conduct parliamentary elections this year, as promised.
“During the past months, I have followed the work of the government in various fields, hoping that the government would be more efficient and active in finalising these laws, in cooperation with the Lower House, but a slow pace continued to prevail,” the King said.
“We do not have the luxury of time, nor do we have the option to postpone what we committed ourselves to do and promised our honourable people to achieve.”
In his letter of resignation, Khasawneh said that his government had worked to implement King Abdullah’s directives, as outlined in the Letter of Designation.
“Your Majesty directed the government to draw up legislation pertaining to political reform. The government finalised the set of legislation required with a high level of efficiency and within the declared timeframe. The last piece of legislation was the draft law on elections, which, even if it was not up to my expectations, meets the needs of this period of transition,” Khasawneh said.
The premier also cited the government’s achievements, including the implementation of the salary-restructuring plan for public sector workers.
Khasawneh and his Cabinet were sworn in on October 24, 2011, becoming the 94th government since 1921 and the ninth since King Abdullah ascended to the Throne in 1999.
Of his 29-member Cabinet team, 16 were appointed ministers for the first time, while 13 had served in previous governments.
Tarawneh, who was prime minister between August 1998 and March 1999, also served as foreign minister and Royal Court chief. He headed Jordan’s peace negotiating team with Israel in 1993.
Appointed senator in 2003, Tarawneh was a member of the Royal Committee on Constitutional Review, tasked by King Abdullah with revisiting the Constitution.