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House passes constitutional amendments by sweeping majority

By JT - Apr 27,2016 - Last updated at Apr 27,2016

AMMAN — The Lower House on Wednesday passed the constitutional amendments that gave new powers to the King and allowed citizens with dual nationalities to occupy senior public posts and parliamentary seats, among other changes.

In the morning session, 123 deputies out of 142 who attended the vote agreed to a change in Article 40, allowing the King to exercise his powers via a Royal Decree without the need for the signature of the Council of Ministers.  

Of the 125 MPs present in the evening meeting, 120 voted in favour of amendments to Article 50, which stipulate that in the event of the death of the prime minister, the government should remain in place. In the same session, the majority of MPs agreed to an amendment to Article 69, which, under the new version, extends the term of the House Speaker to two years instead of one, and he/she can be elected for another two-year term.

The House also passed by the same majority an amendment, which gives the King the power to appoint the Gendarmerie chief, terminate his services or accept his resignation. A 2015 amendment gave the King a similar power, regarding the hiring and firing of chiefs of the army and the General Intelligence Department. 

The legislators also agreed to the abolishment of a ban which prohibited citizens of dual nationality to be ministers or gain any equally senior public job as Article 42 stipulated. They also scrapped Paragraph B of Article 75, which banned dual-nationality citizens from becoming members of the House or the Senate.  

Unlike the vote on other draft laws, every single constitutional amendment, according to Article 126 of the Constitution, is passed by a two-third majority of the members of each of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.


Constitutionally, the vote on amendments is taken by calling the names of the Chamber members and not merely by raising hands as is the case with regular draft laws. 

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