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Changes to Jordan's constitution raise concerns

The newly approved amendments to the Jordanian Constitution will change the king's role in appointing key officials, though observers disagree on whether this will serve or weaken the country's parliamentary system.

It took Jordan’s two-chamber parliament about two weeks to overwhelmingly approve a number of constitutional amendments that the government had hastily presented on April 18. On May 2, the upper house of parliament adopted the amendments a week after the lower house had done the same.

In contrast to the amendments that were recommended by a special royal committee in September 2011, in the midst of the Arab Spring, this time there was no public debate. And while the 2011 amendments — which affected one third of the constitution and limited the king’s constitutional powers to postpone elections, dissolve the lower house indefinitely, keep a government in office or re-appoint a prime minister — were seen by the public as enhancing political reforms and underlining the kingdom’s status as a constitutional monarchy, the latest installment of alterations triggered controversy.

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