JORDAN: The path to reform
His Majesty King Abdullah II

The following speech was an address by His Majesty King Abdullah II to Jordanians and was broadcast on Jordanian national TV.

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Blessings and peace be upon our Arab Hashemite Prophet Mohammad, Dear brothers and sisters, peace be upon you, God`s mercy and blessings,

It is my great pleasure to address you today, and to convey my pride in you and my appreciation of your efforts in every part of our dear Jordan. I address you today while you are proceeding with the process of construction and development, recording remarkable accomplishments that are commendable and attest to your strong will and determination to continue the building of modern Jordan.

This is the Jordan that provides its men and women with opportunities to lead, in a climate of freedom and democracy.

It is the Jordan that guarantees a decent life in which each one of you is empowered to take part in making the decisions that affect your life and the future of your children.

It is the Jordan that opens the way for you to contribute to the process of comprehensive development and to reap its fruits on the basis of justice, equality and equal opportunities.

I sought to speak to you today to present you with my vision for the process of political, economic, social and administrative reform that we embarked upon five years ago, and which constitutes the path towards our aspirations for development.

Based on that, I believe that political, economic, social and administrative development is an integrated process and that we should not deal with its elements as independent and separate units. I also deem it essential to expand the base of public participation in this process, which needs the support and efforts of each and every citizen.

As political development is the gateway to the full participation of all segments of grassroots and civil society institutions in the various aspects of the development process, I assert here that political development should start at the grassroots level, then move up to decision making centres, and not vice versa.

Accordingly, and in order to enhance our democratic march, and to continue the process of political, economic, social and administrative reform, and out of our keenness to have people in their respective governorates participate in affairs related to public facilities, investment priorities, expenditures on capital and services projects and in overseeing the performance of official bodies in all areas, we have deemed it necessary to reconsider the current administrative divisions of the Kingdom.

We shall have a number of `development areas, or regions,` each of which consisting of a number of governorates. Each region will have a local council directly elected by its people to work hand-in-hand with the elected municipal councils in the governorates to set priorities and draw up plans and programmes related to their respective regions. These tasks should no longer be exclusive to central decision-makers because the people of each region are more aware of their interests and needs.

We shall, as soon as possible, form a Royal Committee to study the various aspects of such an approach and to set the appropriate mechanisms for its implementation and translation from an idea to tangible facts on the ground.

Dear brothers and sisters, I take this occasion to congratulate, on your behalf, our brotherly Palestinians for their great achievement in conducting the presidential election and choosing their legitimate leadership. Such an achievement is a key and essential step for the Palestinians in their pursuit to regain their rights and to establish their independent state on their national soil. We shall, as always, be their strongest supporter so that they realise their legitimate national aspirations.

I also take this occasion to address all our brethren in Iraq, of all groups and spectrums, and call on them to take part in the elections to be held in a few days. The elections are the only realistic way for the Iraqis to achieve security and stability, rebuild their country, and ensure that Iraq regains its natural and special status within the region.

Once again, dear brothers and sisters, I salute you all and express my pride in you. I ask Almighty God to protect and bless you and to guide all of us towards the welfare of our people and nation.

Peace and God`s mercy and blessings be upon you.