To Abdullah Ensour

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Abdullah Ensour
10 October 2012
Translated from Arabic
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate
Your Excellency Dr. Abdullah Ensour,
I am pleased to address you, expressing my pride and appreciation for you and praying that God grant you good health and success.
I, as well as all Jordanians, have known you as a dedicated soldier and a person who has been able to stand up to challenges with wisdom and efficiency in all your previous posts. Your impressive record qualifies you to assume responsibility at this critical stage for the region and our country.
Having accepted the resignation of His Excellency Dr. Fayez Tarawneh, which came in fulfillment of a constitutional requirement resulting from the constitutional amendments, stipulating that the government resign after the Lower House is dissolved, and having based our judgment on the outcome of our continuous outreach to the various social groups, and in light of your long experience in public work and deep knowledge of national issues, I hereby designate you to form a new government that builds on the achievements of the past years and handles the missions and duties of the current stage.
Before going into the details of the executive vision of your mandate, it is a must that we review the outcomes of the reform process, which has resulted in constitutional guidelines, laws and democratic institutions that will concretely contribute to putting citizens at the centre of decision-making.
More than 10 years ago, we called for reform and modernisation, and have since made considerable achievements in that domain. When the region experienced the Arab Spring, we embarked on efforts to accelerate the implementation of an integrated reform plan. Reforms and achievements ensued, one democratic accomplishment after the other. The Public Gatherings Law was amended and developed, a teachers’ association was established, a national dialogue committee was set up to revisit the Elections and Political Parties Laws. The national consensus that was possible to reach led us to Political Parties and Elections Laws that we aspire to constantly improve through constitutional and institutional channels. Then, there came the constitutional amendments that involved one third of the Constitution. They strengthened freedoms and provided further guarantees for the judicial and legislative branches vis-à-vis the executive branch. These amendments made parliamentary life immune to disruptions and put limitations to the dissolution of the Lower House. We are today experiencing the positive effects of these amendments on our political life, not to mention the new democratic institutions that emerged as a result, foremost of which are the Constitutional Court and the Independent Elections Commission. We have also implemented a set of requirements that constituted the pillars of our vision for democratic and political renewal: New laws governing political life were enacted, Parliament was dissolved and we called for early elections. We are looking forward to the next Parliament to lay the foundations for the concept of transition to parliamentary government.
The bottom line is that the Jordanian citizen’s vote will shape the next Parliament and government through the ballot boxes. Citizens will enjoy more democracy, guaranteed by monitoring institutions that will safeguard rights and freedoms and the separation of powers. This explanatory introduction was essential to clarify the reform path, on which we will continue and move forward.
Accordingly, your government will undertake noble national missions and on this government we pin hopes for a high-level performance. In the political arena, the top priority for your government is to boost cooperation with the Independent Elections Commission and support it as the body administering and overseeing the early elections, applying the highest international standards of electoral integrity, neutrality, transparency and fairness, leading to a Lower House that represents the true will of the people and meets their aspirations for a better future. Having said that, the primary responsibility of this government in this transitional phase is to pave the way for a qualitative leap in Jordan’s political history and democratisation.
Between now and elections day, your government is expected to continue dialogue with all segments of society, political parties and political forces, to encourage them to effectively take part in the elections as candidates and voters. It should continue to urge political parties and political forces to adopt workable and feasible platforms that are relevant to voters, meet their aspirations and empower them to have a say in policy-making, with focus on the youth, because of their pioneering role in reform and modernisation.
I also direct your government to promptly start building on what has been achieved with regard to municipal elections, with the aim of strengthening a democratic approach that would enrich representation at all levels. As a result, people should be empowered to make their own national and local decisions and their confidence in the state and its institutions should be enhanced.  We are looking forward to the day of municipal elections as a milestone in our plans to realise decentralisation and local governance and upgrade the level of services offered to citizens, as these services have lately seen lamentable deterioration. As they develop a stronger sense of awareness and elect the best candidates, voters will be the judges and monitors of municipal councils’ performance.
Your Excellency,
Since the beginning of the Arab Spring and the Jordanian Spring, we took the initiative to turn challenges into opportunities and incentives for reform and further democratisation. History and national memory will record that the Jordanian Spring was civilised, characterised by a high sense of responsibility and awareness, and a model of peacefulness. In this context, I emphasise your government’s responsibility to respect freedom of expression, within the law, and the right to peaceful protest, without vandalising public or private property or violating or undermining the rights of others. Diversity of opinion should be respected without compromising the country’s security, safety or order and the rule of the law.
Out of belief that justice is the basis of governance and the judicial system is the guarantor of justice, equality and the rule of the law, the government should provide all forms of support to enable our judiciary to implement its plans and programmes and accelerate litigation.
We take pride in our recent democratic and constitutional achievement, embodied in the establishment of the Constitutional Court, which has already assumed its responsibilities. In this context, we direct you to provide this Court with all forms of support so that it can fully fulfill its mandate, in a way that maintains the separation and balance between the branches of government, entrenches the rule of law and safeguards rights and freedoms.
We also direct the government to embark on sincere efforts to launch an integrated matrix of checks and balances in public service, to include specific mechanisms for appointments and promotions, especially in top posts, so as to better build capacity and retain talent, uphold the principles of transparency, justice and equal opportunity and fight wasta and favouritism.
Your Excellency,
Your government is assuming its national responsibilities at a time of difficult economic and fiscal conditions, globally, regionally and domestically. In this context, attention should be paid to a set of economic and social challenges that negatively impact citizens’ lives.
The fiscal and economic challenges we are facing, which have aggravated over recent years due to successive global financial crises and the Arab Spring’s implications, and amid a steady rise in the prices of food and energy, which Jordan mainly imports, require a medium-term budget to be presented to the coming Parliament. The government and all public sector institutions should exhibit the maximum degree of financial discipline, prudence and responsibility when they determine budget allocations and spending.
In parallel with financial control policies, it is also necessary to address the repercussions of the economic conditions and the forecast financial challenges on citizens, who are our first and foremost priority, especially the impoverished and limited-income segments. This should be done through strengthening the social safety network and working out new mechanisms to direct subsidies to those who deserve them, in consultation with the various sectors, civil society institutions and political forces. The outcome should ensure a decent living for beneficiaries and strengthen the middle class, which is the safety valve of society and the catalyst for the success of the comprehensive reform process.
It is also necessary to continue the essential economic reforms aimed to improve the investment climate and remove obstacles facing investors. Greater efforts should be exerted to attract local, Arab and foreign investments with high added value and benefit from the advantage of security and stability, in order to create jobs for Jordanians and improve their livelihoods.
I also direct you to ensure that the medium-term budget takes into consideration the requirements of the economic-fiscal reform programme prepared by the outgoing government, with the support and approval of international financial institutions. This programme will lead to the removal of economic and fiscal imbalances and it will maximise investments so as to give new momentum to our economy, applying a clear institutional approach that restores balance to public finances and the balance of payment and maintains fiscal and monetary stability, leading to realising the envisaged goals, which include maintaining the confidence of the international community in the Jordanian economy and boosting self-reliance.
Aware of the magnitude of the economic and fiscal challenges, we are confident in our ability to overcome them and address their repercussions, albeit gradually and in the medium and long terms, so that we can protect our economic and social security and safeguard our national accomplishments in order to secure a better future for the generations to come.
We should point out in this context a series of measures and steps that must be taken and incorporated in the government’s economic and social policies. It is necessary to enhance the system of national integrity, accountability and transparency and to institutionalise its work and the mechanisms of cooperation within concerned agencies, in order to address loopholes in efforts to combat, firmly and transparently, all suspicions and cases of corruption and refer them to justice. It is equally essential to support the Anti-Corruption Commission and all other monitoring agencies, in a way that enables them to carry out their duties fully. 
It could be useful to agree on a charter to enhance the system of integrity, transparency, accountability and the rule of law, guarantee justice and equal opportunity and combat wasta and favouritism.
At the development level, it is essential to provide the necessary support for the recently launched Governorates Development Fund. Implementation of projects under the Fund must be accelerated in a way that ensures greater justice in the distribution amongst various districts of development gains and revenues, leading to creating jobs, boosting a culture of entrepreneurship and providing more microfinance and soft loans opportunities, especially in areas that have special circumstances and are less privileged, where a spirit of initiative and self-reliance should be promoted.
The continuous improvement in services for citizens should be a government priority. Therefore, officials should focus on fieldwork that involves direct outreach to citizens and responsiveness to their issues. Ministers should act as role models for all public sector employees in terms of fieldwork, positive outreach to citizens and quick, fair and intelligent response to their issues, across all governorates.
Among the challenges that this government has to address is to continue the implementation of the National Employment Strategy, which attaches great importance to youth in order to empower them to build their future and find suitable jobs. The government should also expedite the drafting of the Consumers Protection Law to protect citizens against the impact of inflation and the erosion of incomes. Work should also be done to improve services provided to persons with special needs, along with other segments that need social care, taking into consideration the recommendations and outcomes of the probe into violations at care centres for persons with special needs.
Your Excellency, 
We have asserted on more than one occasion that it is necessary to conduct an objective evaluation of the economic policies Jordan has adopted over the past two decades. Therefore, I call for a committee comprising distinguished local and international experts in the fields of economic and social policies, known for their integrity and neutrality, to revisit privatisation policies and transactions conducted by successive Jordanian governments since the economic crisis of 1989. As part of their findings, they are expected to assess the economic and social impact of these policies based on facts rather than impressions and rumours. They should identify weaknesses and successes, and publish their findings in utter transparency. Lessons learned should be utilised and incorporated in future economic and social policies.
Energy is at the heart of the economy. We were amongst the first countries in the region to realise the importance of gradual diversification of energy sources to protect our country against fluctuations in international market prices, and thus entrench the sovereignty and stability of our economic and development-related decision-making. The seriousness of such challenge is apparent in the steady rise in the energy bill and related subsidies, which have been affected by rising international prices and disruptions in the Egyptian gas supply. Accordingly, it is imperative for your government to expedite the implementation of programmes and policies that ensure the diversification of energy sources, with focus on alternative and renewable sources, along with supportive programmes that increase efficiency in energy use and consumption. The government is expected to accelerate strategic energy projects, as responding to this challenge is a national responsibility that we should embrace and fulfill for the sake of future generations, for whom we seek to secure all elements of a decent living. 
Your Excellency,
Our region is undergoing unprecedented turbulent events that require our awareness, wisdom and vigilance. We should exert more efforts to protect national unity and the coherence of the internal front and to join ranks to defend the homeland and its accomplishments, steering clear from belittling its achievements and undermining its social fabric. In this context, the role of the media, as watchdog and supporter of the reform process, is key to constructive national dialogue. The media plays such role by exposing faults and flagging shortcomings in a credible and neutral manner, using objective and constructive criticism, contributing to setting the agendas of national priorities and debates in a way that serves the country and the people’s needs and enriches the reform process.  In this context, we direct you to continue implementation of the National Media Strategy in all its aspects and components, with the aim of paving the way for transparent and fruitful cooperation and communication between the state, the media and citizens and contributing to upgrading the level and quality of the national media’s performance.
The regional developments we referred to above have brought about unprecedented security challenges. The brave Jordanian men and women in our Armed Forces and security agencies are doing the impossible to stand up to these challenges with wisdom, professionalism and courage, working around the clock to defend the country and the safety of citizens. Therefore, support should continue for all members of our brave Armed Forces and security services who are attending to the security and stability of the country, so that they are able to carry out their great responsibilities with utmost efficiency and competence and continue to project Jordan’s image as a civilised and humane country across the region and the world.  
Your Excellency, 
Since the Syrian crisis erupted and unfortunate developments followed, Jordan was determined to carry on with meeting its nationalistic and humanitarian responsibilities towards our Syrian brothers, whose conditions have forced them to seek refuge in Jordan.  In this context, we direct the government to continue to provide all support for the Syrian refugees within the available resources. It is required to intensify contacts with specialised international organisations and the world community to provide the necessary financial and relief aid to improve the level of services and care offered to Syrian refugees and to prevent a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in refugee camps as winter approaches.
Regarding the different Arab and Islamic issues, your government is required to continue to enhance joint Arab action and support the just causes of our Arab and Islamic nations, foremost of which the Palestinian cause. Jordan has repeatedly emphasised from several international forums that the Palestinian cause tops its foreign policy priorities. Based on that, we direct the government to continue to support our Palestinian brothers until they establish their independent state on their national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital. The government is also expected to carry on Jordan’s historic role in preserving Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites under Hashemite custodianship, and to confront any attempt to tamper with or threaten them. In addition, Jordan’s pioneering role in sponsoring interfaith dialogue should continue, along with its efforts to present and defend the real and pure image of true Islam.
Your Excellency, 
As you embrace these noble national responsibilities, you are paving the way for the crucial post-elections stage. Therefore, you are expected to start consultations with the various political and national powers as you work on forming your ministerial team, so that such team is up to the current stage and challenges. We wish you success as we await the names recommended for the ministerial team, who will share the burden of responsibility with you at this critical stage in the history of our dear country. You will have all my support.
Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein