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King to address new Parliament today

By Raed Omari - Nov 06,2016 - Last updated at Nov 06,2016

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah will inaugurate the 18th Parliament's first ordinary session today with a Speech from the Throne.

Following his speech, the King, according to protocol, will receive deputies and senators, in addition to members of the Cabinet.

After their meeting with His Majesty, the senators, as stipulated in the Constitution, will hold their first meeting, presided over by newly appointed Senate President Faisal Fayez, to form a committee to draft their response to the Speech from the Throne in accordance with the Upper House’s by-laws.

Following the Senate meeting, the 130 MPs will meet in a separate session to elect the Lower House speaker as well as members of the permanent office, including deputy speakers.

Before the Lower House by-laws were amended, the first meeting used to be chaired by the eldest deputy. Now the MP with the longest membership will preside over the first meeting.

After electing the speaker, the MPs will form a committee to respond to the Speech from the Throne, before electing members for the Lower House committees.

MPs Atef Tarawneh, Abdul Karim Dughmi, Abdullah Akaileh, Khamis Atiyyeh, Mazen Qadi and Ahmad Safadi have announced their intention to run in the speakership race.

Both Dughmi and Tarawneh have served as House speakers in previous parliaments.

During a meeting with chief editors of local daily newspapers in October, Prime Minister Hani Mulki said that he did not have any consultations with deputies over the formation of his Cabinet because the Parliament, which was elected on September 20, did not have any blocs at the time, stressing that he would seek closer ties with parliamentarians during the course of his work in the coming period.

Mulki’s new government was sworn in before His Majesty King Abdullah on September 28, one week after the elections.

The premier added that he sees eye-to-eye with members of Parliament on national interest issues, noting that he respects any differences in points of view over means to implement national programmes and policies intended to serve the country and its citizens.

“I do not think that the government is in disagreement with the Lower House over issues of national interest, which include national security and the well-being of citizens,” said Mulki, who stressed that the role of Parliament complements the role of the executive authority.

“We need the counsel of deputies,” Mulki said, highlighting the need to have a complementary relationship with them.

A Royal Decree was issued on September 29, summoning Parliament to convene for its ordinary session on November 7. A previous Royal Decree had been issued, postponing the first ordinary session of the two Chambers of Parliament to November 7.

Constitutionally, the ordinary session begins on October 1, or two months after at the latest.

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