National level

The elected House of Representatives can initiate legislation. However, draft laws must receive the approval of the Senate and the King. The King can return the law within six months with a statement containing the reasons for non-ratification. Only if the law is approved again by the two Houses with a qualified majority of two-third of the members of each House can the law be considered effective and ratified. King Abdullah has extensive powers, including the power to appoint and dismiss governments, to suspend parliament and to rule by decree. He also controls the military and General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the agency that monitors public life. The King’s royal court and personal advisers act as the ultimate authority on core issues such as foreign relations, economic policy and internal security. The centralist environment is also present in international cooperation contracts, which are almost solely conducted with central government. Jordan signed an association agreement with the EU in 2002 and adopted an EU-Jordan action plan that led to the current “advanced status” of their relationship.

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