AMMAN — Deputies on Tuesday endorsed the Lower House Rules of Procedure, ending more than two weeks of deliberations over the draft regulation that witnessed dramatic events, including the dismissal of one MP and the suspension of another’s membership.
According to deputies who spoke to The Jordan Times, the new changes will end the inconsistencies in the House’s by-law with the Constitution, which occurred after the latter was amended in 2011.
In the new changes, MPs no longer have the right to look into the complaints over validity of their membership in the Lower House. Jurisdiction over such cases has been transferred to the judicial authority.
The MPs also amended Article 42 of the by-law, making the Lower House meetings legal whenever attendance reaches 50 per cent plus of the 150-strong Lower House, abandoning the previous requirement, which set the quorum at least two-thirds of the Lower House members.
During Tuesday’s two sessions, MPs agreed to impose strict punishment against any of its members who carries out what deputies described as “acts of serious harm to the Chamber”.
The penalties would include dismissing the MP from the Lower House or suspending his/her membership for an extended period of time.
An unprecedented decision in this regard was taken last week, when the Lower House voted to dismiss its member Talal Sharif (Amman, 1st District) and suspended membership of Qusai Dmeisi (Zarqa, 4th District) after Sharif shot at Dmeisi –– and missed him –– in a Parliament hall while the Chamber was holding a session.
Meanwhile, lawmakers revoked previous changes made during the recent deliberations to Article 155 of the Rules of Procedure to amend it in order to ensure it is in line with Article 85 of the Constitution.
The final amendment annulled a paragraph that banned visitors from attending the sessions designated for votes of confidence in governments.
Several deputies suggested that this contradicts the Constitution, which stipulates that all parliamentary sessions should be public, unless the government or 10 MPs request to make it a closed session.
Under their previous amendments to the draft by-law, the Lower House increased its permanent committees from 14 to 20, but failed to create a new committee for defence and security.
The MPs granted themselves the right to monitor and discuss the budgets of the Greater Amman Municipality and leading municipalities across the Kingdom.
By end of the discussions on Tuesday, 65 MPs voted for the overall new changes to the Rules of Procedure out of the attending 85.