The Jordanian political system is based on the separation of the three powers (Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary). The Jordanian Constitution has specified the mandate of the three authorities where every authority exercises its mandate without interference in other authorities’ businesses. The relationship between these three authorities is a balanced, complementary, and participatory one. The Legislative power has the right to oversee the Executive power’s performance and hold it accountable. Yet, the Executive Authority has the right to propose draft laws and to issue provisional laws when deemed necessary.
The Jordanian Parliamentary adopted the bicameral system:
- The House of Senate (members are appointed by the King).
- The House of Representatives (members are elected by citizens).
National Assembly Structure
The Jordanian National Assembly consists of two houses: Senate and Representatives.
Speaker of the House
The Speaker of the Senate is appointed by His Majesty the King by a Royal Decree for a renewable two-year term.
Senate members are appointed by the King by a Royal Decree under certain conditions set by the Constitution. Members of the Senate (including the Speaker) should not exceed half the House of Representatives members.
Senate membership is four years. Members who ended their term can be reappointed.
Senate meetings take place concurrently with the meetings of the House of Representatives. Sessions for both Houses are the same. In case the House of Representatives is dissolved, the Senate meetings cease to exist.
House of Representatives Speaker
House of Representatives members elect a Speaker for one year at the beginning of each ordinary session. The Speaker remains in office up to the beginning of the next session where he/she can be reelected.
House of Representatives Members
The House of Representatives consists of 120 elected members where all are elected by a public secret direct ballot including the Speaker of the house.
House of Representatives Term
The House of Representative term is four years since gazetting the election results. The King has the right to extend the term of the House by a Royal Decree for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years.
House of Representatives Meetings
House of Representatives meetings are held during several sessions of three types:
- Ordinary Session:
the House of Representatives holds a-four-month ordinary session every year on October 1st when His Majesty the King calls for the session to convene. The ordinary session may be deferred or extended by a Royal Decree within certain conditions set by the Constitution.
- Special Session:
is held when His Majesty the King calls for convening this session or an absolute majority of Representatives when deemed necessary for an indefinite period of time to pass or discuss laws and other specific issues. Yet all House legislative and oversight mandate are limited to the Royal Decree issued for that purpose.
- Extraordinary Session:
is held in the case of the dissolution of the House of Representatives and general elections are to take place. The new House of Representatives then convenes in an extraordinary session within a maximum of four months after the dissolution. Constitutional provisions of the ordinary session apply to the extraordinary one including extension and postponement. Yet an extraordinary session should not in any way continue after September 30th and should be prorogued on that date where the House of Representatives would be able to hold its first ordinary session on October 1st.If an extraordinary session is held during October and November, it is then considered the first ordinary session as per article (73) of the Constitution.
- Legislative Function
The legislative process goes through three stages: drafting, deliberation and passing bills. The Jordanian Parliament (National Assembly) exercises its legislative responsibilities through two functions: proposing bills and passing draft laws received from the Executive Authority. The power of the Parliament is, therefore, limited to the right of approving, rejecting or modifying bills.
- Oversight Function
The National Assembly exercises its oversight role over the Executive Authority’s performance as per its Constitutional mandate. The Prime Minister and the Ministers have shared responsibility before the National Assembly for the State’s general policy. The Jordanian National Assembly exercises its oversight authorities through special oversight tools set by the Jordanian Constitution to enable members of the Assembly to follow-up and oversee the progress of government programs.
Legislative Oversight Tools are as follows:
- Vote of Confidence
is brought before the House of Representatives on the Cabinet or one of its Ministers. In case the House decides a no-confidence vote against the Cabinet by absolute majority, the Government resigns. If the vote of no-confidence is against a particular minister, that minister is then to resign.
is an important oversight tool intended to learn about certain matters via forming ad hoc committees of Parliament members to collect the required information related to the subject under investigation.
- Debate request
aims at discussing facts and exchanging views on a particular subject with the Government in order to know the factual situation of a certain matter or to learn about the Government policy therein. The Government has also the right to request a debate with the Parliament in order to update the Parliament on its policies regarding a particular subject.
- Expressing desire
means to ask the Government to undertake a certain action or to adopt a certain plan. This is a Parliament prerogative to oversee State affairs and monitor the Government policy.
- Receiving petitions and complaints
since every Jordanian has the right to submit to the House a petition regarding public or personal matters.
is one of the methods used to learn of an ambiguous issue, to receive an explanation from the Government on its way of dealing with a certain issue, or to draw the Government’s attention to a specific matter. Raising queries is regarded a personal right for senates and representatives.
- Interrogation and impeachment
Interrogation is the right of the National Assembly to hold ministers or one minister accountable for their performance in office. Yet impeachment is to bring an accusation against ministers by the House of Representatives with a two-thirds majority. The impeachment proceeding, as a critical matter, is brought before the Higher Council.
In addition to its oversight and legislative functions, the National Assembly exercises a financial role by adopting the draft state budget law and controlling taxations and concession contracts.