Jordan’s King Pledges Parliamentary Reform, Elected Cabinets

Posted June 12th, 2011 at 4:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Jordan's king says he is pursuing reforms that will allow future governments to be formed based on an elected parliamentary majority. The measure is a key demand of pro-democracy protesters calling for greater political representation.

In a nationally televised address Sunday, King Abdullah II promised further changes. He said a royal commission is now exploring “possible amendments” to the constitution.

The king did not elaborate on the reforms or give a timetable for their implementation, saying sudden change could lead to chaos and unrest.

An important U.S. Arab ally, King Abdullah also vowed a tougher fight against corruption, but warned the Jordanian media and political parties against creating a climate of hatred.

Since January, the king has faced protesters demanding a newly elected parliament to replace one widely seen as ineffective and complacent. He fired his prime minister in February, responding to demonstrators' complaints that the cabinet head was insensitive to their economic hardships.

The government has also lifted restrictions on public assembly, allowing protesters to demonstrate freely.