AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday stressed his commitment to reforms that directly affect the lives of Jordanians.
At a meeting with political figures and representatives of various political parties, King Abdullah said: "We will continue to work hard and relentlessly to achieve comprehensive reforms so that citizens can feel their results on the ground."
The King told the meeting that a country’s prestige and national dignity mainly stems from the prestige and dignity of citizens, emphasising the correlation between political and economic reform and that neither can be achieved without the other.
During the meeting, attended by Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh, King Abdullah said: “I am very optimistic that we are moving on the right track, but there are challenges that must be confronted and dealt with.”
“It is strange that there are people sceptical of the reform process; we have opened the door for reform and we will not close it,” he told the gathering.
“Amendments to the Constitution were the beginning [of reforms] and not the end,” he added, as quoted by a Royal Court statement.
He emphasised that political, economic and social challenges should be the main focus of the different components of the Jordanian community, especially political parties, noting that parties should have clear and well-defined programmes to address these challenges and thus secure a better future for all Jordanians.
Yesterday’s meeting is part of a series of meetings that the King has been holding with different political figures and party members to examine issues that concern the country at the political, economic and social levels.
King Abdullah listened to political leaders’ views on political reform and the main milestones in the reform process that are to be implemented in 2012, including the completion of legislation on elections, an independent election committee, political parties and a constitutional court.
In reply to some of the proposals, the premier reiterated that the country’s prestige is reconsolidated through the practice of justice, tolerance and rule of law.
Noting that the government is for everybody, he affirmed its readiness to accept all views and to hold dialogue with the various political segments and not just the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group.
Khasawneh added that exercising freedom of expression should be done in a civil manner, and he agreed, as suggested by some of the participants, that there is great failure on the part of the media in addressing and clarifying the government’s positions and the political measures and policies of state institutions.
Referring to the disregard of laws by some local news websites, the premier stressed the need to regulate their work as is the case in other countries.
Khasawneh also reiterated that it is necessary to prepare well for parliamentary elections and to work, at the same time, on conducting municipal elections as part of the overall political reform efforts.
The government, he said, will honour its commitments and present the amendments to the Municipalities Law pertaining to the municipal elections within days.
Khasawneh stressed that there is no delay regarding political reform and any claims of a slow pace are unfounded, affirming the need to pursue dialogue with all segments of society regarding controversial issues.
The premier said he will be speaking to the deputies within the coming days on the privatisation process and other related issues.
He also explained that the government is working to reassure the private sector on the economic conditions in the Kingdom, stressing the importance of maintaining a solid partnership between the public and the private sectors.
Khasawneh pointed out that reform “is not achieved with a click of a button” but through reinforcing justice and through laws and regulations, noting that solutions to problems and economic challenges are only achieved through collaboration.
Political figures expressed their appreciation for King Abdullah for leading the reform process in the Kingdom, calling on the government to speed up the issuance of legislation regulating political life, and hold parliamentary elections as soon as possible.
Some of the political leaders voiced their concerns over the negative effects of the actions of some popular movements on the economy, but underscored the need to protect the freedom of expression.
They also stressed that the government should open channels of dialogue with the different groups in Jordan, with no exceptions whatsoever, in order to arrive at a consensus on the issues that concern all Jordanians.
Commending the reform efforts so far, attendees said people need to know they are safe in the country and become confident about the future.
They emphasised that political stability will lead to a strong and solid economy.
They criticised some media outlets, including state media, in particular, for failing to highlight accomplishments made within the past few months.
They also called for clarifying all aspects related to the privatisation plan and the country’s debt and to seriously address the issue of community violence, especially violence at universities.
The political leaders also said that the Kingdom is going through a phase that requires everyone’s cooperation as “one family”, adding that there are no “loyalists” and opposition forces, because all movements want what is best for the country, including its people and its leadership.