To Marouf Bakhit

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Marouf Bakhit
01 February 2011
Translated from Arabic

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

Dear Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit,


You have always been a faithful soldier of this country, keen to carry out your responsibilities with dedication, integrity and honesty. You have always been worthy of my confidence in every post you have assumed.

Now that we have accepted the resignation of the government of His Excellency Samir Rifai, you are charged with forming a new cabinet whose main task is to take practical, swift and tangible steps to launch genuine political reform reflecting our vision for comprehensive reform, modernisation and development. Such reform should enable us to proceed confidently in enhancing democracy and completing plans to build this country in a way that opens up horizons of achievement for each individual among our precious and proud people and guarantees them the secure and decent life of which they are worthy.

Since we assumed our responsibilities, we have consistently embraced comprehensive reform as the way to add to the country’s achievements and keep up with the spirit of a new age whose challenges require us to unleash the potential of all Jordanians so that every opportunity may be seized to ensure all citizens access to the tools of learning, knowledge and capacity building. We have emphasised the importance of concentrating on economic reform as essential to providing people throughout the country the best livelihood. This is a goal that cannot be reached without political reform that increases people's participation in decision-making and produces competent institutions adopting, with efficiency and transparency, programmed action, governed by modern legislation that meets the best democratic standards. But this process has suffered flaws and imbalances resulting from some people's fear of change – which they have resisted to protect their own interests – and from reluctance to take decisions on the part of some of those entrusted with responsibility and from policies of appeasement that put private interests before the public good. A heavy price has been paid by the nation, which has been deprived of several opportunities to achieve.

In light of that, you are charged with conducting a comprehensive assessment in order to arrive at measures to rectify effectively past mistakes and a clear plan of action that pushes forward the reform process after revisiting all legislation governing political, civil and public freedoms for purposes of upgrading such laws.

The elections law, which is the pillar of real political development, is foremost among this legislation which also includes the political parties, public gatherings and municipalities laws, along with the penal code, the press and publications law and laws governing access to information, among others. In light of that, you are expected to present us as soon as possible your recommendation regarding a mechanism for a comprehensive and systematic national dialogue that engages the entire spectrum of Jordanian society, with a view to reaching consensus on a new elections law able to foster the collective national identity, to enhance the work of political parties in a way that encourages these parties to compete to serve the country and its citizens on the basis of ideas and programmes. Participants in this dialogue should agree on all the steps necessary to expedite the democratic process in a way that ensures the highest degree of public participation in decision-making.

The government must take all necessary measures to enhance the role of civil society, safeguard freedom of expression and create the proper environment for the media to play its part professionally and independently, unrestricted and undeterred, and in a manner that allows them to benefit from modern communications. Media outlets should be a means to disseminate knowledge and entrench the culture of dialogue rather than a means to publish false information and unrightfully offend individuals and institutions. Therefore, we have to revise legislation to include transparent democratic mechanisms designed after the best international practices to protect society from unprofessional practices in some media outlets that blatantly breach citizens’ rights and the traditions and ethics of journalism.

Your Excellency,

The youth are the asset of the nation and the makers of its future. The country's youth should receive the highest degree of attention and care in the form of education, capacity-building, enhancement of national values among the younger generation and empowering youth to succeed and achieve; hence the importance of focusing on the education process. All capabilities should be marshalled towards this priority, from curricula development, to improving the school environment and attending to teachers' needs, as they are the pillar of the education process.

There should also be an overall revision of the management of higher education, with a view to restoring our universities as minarets of knowledge, creativity and open-mindedness. Universities should help inform national identity and improve the intellectualism of young people by nurturing openness, pluralism and creative and critical thinking and bring an end to the violence that is growing on campuses. In this context, policies must alleviate the frustration felt by young people as a result of unequal opportunity and the spread of wasta and favouritism.

You are well aware of our economic programmes to provide citizens with the best livelihoods by increasing the productivity of the national economy, ensuring its growth, raising its competitiveness and maximising its ability to attract investment and create jobs. You must continue with economic reforms through programmes and plans that yield the best possible national economic performance, build genuine partnership between the private and public sectors, ensure fair distribution of development gains, expand the middle class and protect the poor.

We should emphasise in this context the need to reinforce the institutional structure to fight all forms of corruption and take the harshest legal action against those proven to have been involved in any corrupt practice.

Your Excellency,

The security and stability of Jordan are a blessing without which there would be no progress or achievement. Preserving this blessing is a responsibility we should not shirk. All should work to protect it through social justice that preserves the dignity of all Jordanians, indiscriminate application of the law, community solidarity and national unity, the rock on which the agents of corruption are shattered. In this context, the judiciary should continue to receive all support and have at its disposal all capabilities so that it can improve its performance.

Our armed forces and security agencies are the shield of our homeland and the protector of its development, security and democracy. They will always receive our due care and attention. The government has to continue providing these institutions with all the support they need to ensure a decent living for their brave personnel.

Your Excellency,

The march towards reform, development and modernisation is a must for Jordan, and we will walk this path to the end, unshaken. Seeking to meet the aspirations of our proud people, whose interests and right to a decent and secure living supersede all else. As we task you with shouldering this responsibility at a stage that is rich with opportunity as well as rife with challenge, you are directed to build on the programmes included in the National Agenda after making the necessary updates and to commit yourself to plans, goals and a work methodology outlined in my Letters of Designation to the two previous governments. These constitute action plans that will span several years to come.

Towards that end, you are directed to take your time in selecting your ministerial team from among able and qualified Jordanians who are committed to comprehensive reform and who embrace dialogue, openness, honesty, transparency and communication with our dear people, following extensive consultations with the various components of political and civil society.

Stressing the centrality of the constitutional role of the executive branch in the development and achievement process, you are directed to fully cooperate with the Lower House and the Senate, while ensuring that both branches work independently, without one dominating the other.

Your Excellency,

As we await the names of your choice of ministers, we ask God to grant us success in serving Jordan and the brave Jordanian people, who have always been larger than any challenge, thanks to their loyalty, awareness and solidarity and to keep Jordan safe, proud and stable.

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

Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 1 February 2011