To Fayez Tarawneh

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Fayez Tarawneh
27 April 2012
Translated from Arabic

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate

Your Excellency Dr Fayez Tarawneh,

I extend to you my warmest and sincerest wishes of good health, happiness and success.

I have known you throughout your career and followed your dedicated work in all the positions you have assumed. You have always been a loyal soldier of this country and an example of faithfulness and keenness to carry out your responsibilities perfectly and to address challenges with efficiency, distinction and a spirit of altruism and self-denial, placing the higher national interests above all other interests and considerations. Jordanians will always remember what you have given to your country over the past decades, particularly during the crucial and sensitive stages in the history of our dear homeland.

Having accepted the resignation of His Excellency Awn Khasawneh, taking into consideration what we have inferred from our continuous outreach with our dear people, the trends of public opinion and the priorities of the spectra of the Jordanian society, and out of our persistent keenness to meet the aspirations of our people to freedom, democracy and dignity, and in light of the knowledge and vast experience you have in the field of public service, along with your integrity, dedication and impressive record, we entrust you with forming a new government whose top priority shall be the completion of the reform process that we launched on the first day we assumed our responsibilities, in all its political, economic and social aspects.

Therefore, the formation of this government for a defined transitional period is aimed at the completion and implementation of the package of political reform-related laws, leading to the stage when we can hold parliamentary elections. It is also tasked with implementing constitutional requirements based on the separation of powers, unleashing freedoms, entrenching democracy and expanding the base of public participation in decision making, all in an atmosphere of freedom, pluralism and respect of others’ opinions within the framework of a meaningful and constructive national dialogue. This dialogue should be founded on our national constants, our clear vision for the future of Jordan and placing national interests above all other interests and considerations, in a way that allows us to achieve the comprehensive reform our dear people aspire to.

Going into the details of this vision, the following points should be highlighted.

First, the principle of separation between powers is a constitutional pillar that we must adhere to so that no branch of government encroaches on any other branch, overpowers it or interferes in its affairs. The relationship between the legislative and executive authorities should illustrate the highest level of cooperation and coordination, and a genuine keenness to enact the laws that lie at the core of the reform process. Otherwise, the process will stumble and achievement will be below expectations. This full cooperation should be illustrated in giving priority to enacting the laws governing political parties, the constitutional court and elections, along with any other piece of legislation required at this stage.

Second, work should be expedited to set up the independent commission to oversee and administer elections. We should extend all the support necessary to build its capacity in line with the best international practices, so that it can design its work mechanism, and to empower this body to hold and oversee the legislative elections, posing as guarantor of the integrity, neutrality and transparency of the election process.

Hence emerges the need to have an elections law ensuring that the Lower House truly represents all Jordanians in every part of the dear homeland and their intellectual and political orientations, with the highest degree of just representation. This should be achieved in the shortest time possible to pave the way for conducting the elections the moment all arrangements are in place, before the end of the year.

Regarding the municipal elections, a near date should be set to hold them so as to activate the principle of local governance, expand the base of public participation in the decision-making process and allow citizens to set their priorities and advance their local communities.

Third, the drafting of political reform laws should always be based on outreach with all components of society and the social and political spectra of Jordan. This should be done through in-depth dialogues carried out with the highest level of responsibility and openness so as to reach as much national consensus as we can over these pivotal laws, which will define the future of Jordan in the coming years.

Fourth, the press is one of the most important tools to shape public opinion and an effective link between citizens and officials. It is a key supporter of the development process and a monitor of the soundness of the process, policies and measures. Accordingly, we should adopt a national strategy based on the respect of the media’s message and freedom and designed to promote professionalism among media outlets. We should ensure that the media have access to accurate information on what has been achieved and what will be achieved in the context of the reform process and point out shortcomings and failures with transparency and credibility so as to avoid demagoguism, sensationalism, abuse of the country’s image, character assassination and sedition.

Fifth, parallelism of political and economic reform is a pillar in our reform approach, and so we emphasise that we should proceed with reforms on both tracks, ensuring they are parallel and completely integrated.

The international and regional economic situations and challenges surrounding us require a response that is built on well-studied policies and plans that are able to ease the difficult economic conditions facing Jordanian men and women. In this context, we should take into consideration the legitimate economic demands that have been a key driver of popular demands, which we support, as we always have.

Also in the economic field, we direct you to draft economic and developmental policies that revolve around citizens first and foremost. Despite the economic achievements realised, they still do not meet our ambitions, and the duality of poverty and unemployment remains our main concern. The government’s top priority is to create jobs in cooperation with the private sector through attracting and increasing local, Arab and foreign investments, and to combat poverty in line with the best international practices in this field. This should be done in a manner that preserves the dignity of citizens and ensures them a properly decent living. In this regard, labour and recruitment policies should be revisited and training and rehabilitation programmes designed so that Jordanians are given priority in recruitment in the various sectors.

In the meantime, work should be done to regain as much balance as possible to the state budget by narrowing the gap between revenues and expenditures. Prudent financial policies should be applied to demonstrate to the public that the government is leading the efforts to aptly respond to the difficult financial situation through responsible and well-studied measures concerned only with serving the public good and the interests of the country.

Citizens should also be protected against the impact of inflation in the prices of commodities and services and the erosion of incomes through a consumer protection law.

Also among our priorities is to protect citizens in governorates and empower them economically. Disparities in distributing the returns of development and the concentration of economic activity in certain areas have created a sense of marginalisation among some citizens. To address that, we deem the Governorates Development Fund a means to achieve just development whose fruits are reaped by all the Kingdom’s governorates. Citizens should be engaged in setting their priorities and ways of spending the money allocated through the fund, because they are the most capable of defining their development needs. The government should work to implement the fund project, set up its legal framework based on best practices, and secure the necessary funds.

Under economic reform also falls the need to take serious, transparent and responsible stands to fight all forms of corruption. Our just and impartial judiciary is the only party that has the final word over suspected cases of corruption. Accordingly, I assert that it is essential to refer all corruption cases to the judiciary to rule on them, so that no one thinks he or she is immune to accountability or above the law.

The Jordan we are looking forward to building is a model homeland where the rights of its citizens are respected and their interests served within the rule of the law. In this field, we direct the government to draft a charter to enhance the national integrity system in coordination with all monitoring institutions and concerned NGOs. The aim is to entrench the accountability system and combat corruption with transparency and impartiality.

Sixth, the limited natural resources Jordan possesses have always been and still are a hurdle before the Jordanian economy’s ability to become self-reliant. The challenges posed by the rising cost of energy internationally have been a heavy burden on the treasury. Therefore, immediate executive measures should be taken to diversify sources of energy and search for new ones, including alternative and renewable sources. The implementation of mega-projects in vital sectors such as water and energy should be completed.

Seventh, the historic stage our country is passing through on its way to modernisation, democracy and maximisation of public participation requires a civilised manner in dealing with all protests and demands. We should understand their motives and reasons and make sure that these protests contribute to organised popular action that enriches the process, enhances participation and cements trust between the state and its institutions and the people.

Eighth, our Armed Forces and security agencies are our protectors, and therefore we will continue to support them as the country’s shield and protective fence. We direct the government to further support these agencies and provide them with what they need to modernise and upgrade their performance, for the sake of the country’s security and safety and the advancement of its people.

Ninth, we remain committed to our constants regarding the defence of Arab and Islamic causes, foremost of which the just Palestinian cause. We will keep supporting our brothers in their struggle to have their independent and viable state established on Palestinian national soil within the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and on the basis of the two-state solution, which enjoys Arab and international acceptance and support. We, the Hashemites, will also continue to play our historical role in defending and preserving Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

Tenth, in light of the challenges facing the Arab region’s stability and development, we will intensify our efforts to deepen pan-Arab cooperation and solidarity, coordinate positions to serve the interests of the Arab and Islamic nations and maintain and build on our excellent international relations.

Your Excellency,
As I entrust you with carrying the responsibility at this sensitive stage in the history of the country and the region at large, I have great confidence in your competence and ability to select a ministerial team that is capable of resuming the process and addressing challenges to meet your expectations and the aspirations of our faithful people.

We await the names of your choices of ministers after you make the necessary consultations within a timeframe that allows you to select a team of believers in our reform vision, who are known for their competence, integrity and ability to shoulder responsibility. We have faith that a bright future is awaiting this country. God willing, I will be to you a brother and a supporter.

Let us all, with a pure patriotic spirit, start a new era, during which we will be able to take national dialogue to a new level where it will be based on respect, knowledge, facts and objectivity, away from self-destruction and passivity, to advance our country and serve its men and women.

May God preserve Jordan and help it complete its process successfully and may He guide you to the path of advancing the homeland and serving its citizens.

Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.

Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 27 April 2012