The countdown for parliamentary elections, slated to be held before the end of the year, has begun, King Abdullah reiterated once more, this time in Paris, during talks with French President Francois Hollande.

Political reforms are a domestic issue that figures prominently on the King’s agenda, even during his travels abroad, in view of the qualitative change the process will introduce to the political life in the Kingdom.

But making such statement in France also comes as a reflection of the close ties between Jordan and France and of the Kingdom’s transparency in conducting its affairs and acquainting its friends, in Europe and elsewhere, with the evolving domestic developments.

Paris supports these reforms, as expressed in the Tuesday’s meeting at the Elysee Palace.

The process of reform has now entered another key stage, that of translating theory into practice by conducting parliamentary polls later this year, said the King.

This comes as a culmination of more than a year-and-a-half of intense work that included strenuous consultations with various segments of society, amending one-third of the constitution and introducing new laws to organise and activate political life.

The upcoming elections will be held in accordance with a new law that came into effect earlier this week.

The law is now awaiting one more step after the King asked the executive and legislative authorities to revise the article stipulating the number of seats allocated to the national list in the Lower House with the objective of encouraging partisan work in Parliament.

At the King’s request, the government has reportedly increased the number of seats for the national list from 17 to 27, which would raise the total number of seats in the Lower House, as stipulated in the law, from 140 to 150. The people’s representatives will now look into the government’s proposed amendment with a view to approving it during an impending extraordinary parliamentary session.

The requested amendment came following appeals to the King by opposition forces to revise the law in a way that would increase the seats allocated to the national list.

To ensure their fairness and integrity, the elections will be, for the first time in the history of the Kingdom, conducted under the supervision of an independent commission formed by a special law and in accordance with the constitutional amendments, both the fruit of the ongoing political reforms.

Now is time for real work on the ground to prepare for the polls, which hopefully will attract the participation of all citizens and political forces, who will decide the future of their country.