The official translation of the Senate repons - novombre

Following is the official translation of the Senate's reply on Sunday to His Majesty King Abdullah's S peech from the Throne:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Blessings and peace be upon the most honourable Messenger, Mohammad, the honest Arab Hashemite Prophet, and his family and companions,
Your Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, may God preserve your Throne and support you,
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
The Senate is honoured to stand in Your Majesty's presence at the blessed Raghadan Palace, the fortress of legitimacy and the venue where all started. We seize the occasion to extend to Your Majesty our sincere thanks and deep gratitude for opening the ordinary session of the 17th Parliament and delivering the Speech from the Throne, which was deep, inclusive and with clear guidelines and vision. It added a new solid building block to the structure of the Jordanian democratic model.
Your Majesty,
The Speech from the Throne placed the Parliament before its historic responsibilities, urging its members to work hard to build on the achievements already made and set the requirements of progress, especially in the field of political reform, which is a dynamic and continuous process based on quantitative and qualitative accumulations. Under your wise leadership, we have achieved substantial constitutional amendments that enhanced the matrix of freedoms and consolidated separation between the branches of government. The Constitutional Court and the Independent Elections Commission was established, along with several other achievements.
In this context, the Senate deems that the election and political parties laws constitute together the most essential requirement to build the modern democratic state and enhance the parliamentary pillar of our political system. Therefore, we need to develop these laws to achieve the main goal of democracy, namely, arriving at platform-based parliamentary governments formed by the Lower House majority, while the minority will represent the national opposition to disputed government programmes. The two parties will be comprised of blocs and platform-based political parties. Consequently, governments will be rotated between the components of the Lower House.
The Senate agrees with Your Majesty regarding the evolution of the role of Monarchy and its constitutional responsibilities. The Monarchy has always been, and will remain, the guarantor of Jordan's values and principles of pluralism, democracy and safeguarded balance between the branches of government. It has earned Jordan its strategic edge, manifested in the coherence of its national fabric, protected security and stability and ensured economic, social and political development.
Your Majesty,
The Speech from the Throne underlined that the Parliament is the incubator of democracy and national dialogue. Through that, we can entrench democratic practices which require, first and foremost, an excellent performance, embracing pluralism, accepting the opinion of the majority and respecting the opinions of others. Both Chambers of the Parliament will work with efficiency and harmony in line with these guidelines.
Your Majesty,
With all clarity, the Speech from the Throne single out one of major problems we face, namely, the need for the government administration to improve its performance to the highest levels of professionalism and efficiency. This requires tremendous efforts by the governments to train leaders, embrace a culture of excellence, develop the means and procedures of service delivery, comply with clear standards of the quality of the services offered, entrench the concept of transparency in the related procedures and place the national interest above personal interests, especially with regard to selecting leaders for higher administrative posts. To complete administrative reform, local administration must be developed and the decentralisation and municipalities laws must be enacted.
Your Majesty,
The independence of the judiciary as a pillar of the good citizenship and the prevalence of justice has been at the core of your directives to consecutive governments. The civil state that enforces the law with firmness and fairness without discrimination is the type of state that gives all citizens access to file complaints with a just and impartial judiciary. The country has gone a long way in taking its judicial system to the highest levels of professionalism and impartiality. Yet, there are things to be done in this field, through intensive training programmes and practical improvements to the litigation process and information management and archiving so as to ensure judges' access to the necessary data when needed. But the more important step at this stage is to develop judiciary-related legislation to be compatible with the constitutional amendments.
Your Majesty,
The valuable initiative you have launched to form the Royal Committee for Enhancing the National Integrity System was necessary to build a nationwide effort to combat corruption and instil a system of integrity. To reach a consensus over the outcome of the panel's mission, the entire political, economic, social and cultural spectra of the Jordanian society were engaged in formulating this system as you have directed the committee to hold national dialogues with all the components of society, in all governorates.
The Senate has looked at the draft plan of the national integrity. As it appreciates its positive points, it looks forward to see it discussed at the planned national conference in preparation for its endorsement. The Senate will then adopt it as part of its legislative and oversight role.
Your Majesty,
Under your wise leadership, Jordan has made wide strides in enhancing public freedoms and citizens' right to express their opinions and respect others' in line with the provisions of the law. The Senate highly appreciates the Speech from the Throne for clearly referring to citizenship as a basic element in the building of the modern state, as it guarantees justice, equality and participation and consolidates the sense of belonging to the nation. In this context, the Senate expresses its full conviction of the complementary roles of the legislative, executive and judicial branches, along with a free and responsible media. It believes that such integration of national efforts leads to enhancing freedoms and rights and takes performance to a level that meets Your Majesty's ambitions and the aspirations of your faithful people.
Media outlets have a vital role to play in this context, namely, to serve as a platform for meaningful national dialogue, with full adherence to professional standards and impartiality and reliance on documented information and profound ideas, in a manner that enriches intellectual and political pluralism, away from sensationalism, exaggeration, self-flagellation and belittling achievements. To enable the media to play such a role, the laws regulating this sector must enhance press freedoms and ensure access to information in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
Your Majesty,
Regarding economic reform, the Speech from The Throne outlined an integrated strategic economic development plan and defined the roles of the various concerned institutions in this field. The speech requested the government and Parliament to improve their performance and join action and engage in a constructive and continuous dialogue to achieve the goals of this plan, whose ultimate objective is to raise the standards of livings for Jordanians and improve the quality of their life. Your Majesty has stressed that achieving such a goal must be linked to a socio-economic paradigm that ensures balance between the various segments of  society, protects consumers and safeguards their rights, expands the middle class and directs subsidies to those who deserve them.
The Senate deems that the efforts exerted in this context require cooperation between all state and private institutions and civil society organisations to put forward an integrated action plan to translate the main points included in the Speech from the Throne into an executive programme in which the responsibilities of each party are defined, along with a fixed time frame to complete each job in accordance with set standards. The Senate will sincerely work to be an effective and honest actor in this national endeavour.
Your Majesty,
The Speech from the Throne emphasised the importance of balance between work to address imbalances in the public finance, on the one hand, and the need to stimulate investment and increase the competitiveness of the national economy, on the other.
The Senate asserts that such a wise policy is the best way for Jordan out of the public finance crisis it is facing and to achieve sustainable economic growth, so that our country, God willing, will achieve self-reliance in funding its recurring and capital budgets.
Your Majesty,
You have stressed that reform is a process of revival that is inclusive of all aspects of life: political, economic, cultural, social and educational.  Under your leadership, Jordan has made significant strides on the road to educational reform, which is a pillar in efforts to build the Jordanian individual's character and scientific and cultural knowledge base. The Senate stresses the need to continue educational reform so that the outcomes of the educational process meet the constantly changing market needs. Your Majesty has set clear principles and rules to guide and measure comprehensive reform. The Senate underlines the need for all to commit to these rules, including:
•Applying decentralisation to expand public participation in decision making at the level of individual governorates.
•Continued communication between officials and citizens in their locations and workplaces.
•Partnership between the public and private sectors.
•Encouraging civil society institutions to contribute effectively to decision making.
•Activating the role of the media as a platform for national dialogue and dissemination of information.
•Strengthening the mechanisms of applying the principles of social justice and social solidarity.
•Improving the performance of public and private institutions.
•Applying the principles of good governance.
•Fair distribution of development gains and burdens.
•Implementing the Governorates' Development Plan.
All these pillars are of extreme importance and should serve as a beacon for all. The Senate vows to work within the spirit of these guidelines.
Your Majesty,
Jordan is strong with its wise leadership, and is proud of the will of its conscious people who endures hardships for the sake of the higher national interests. Jordanians stand behind your leadership with a deep-rooted faith and unwavering conviction to achieve the prosperity, invincibility, security and stability of their country.
Similarly, our entire faithful people is proud of its military and security institution, which stands as a guard to protect the interests of the homeland, sacrificing every precious thing to ensure security and defend our higher interests and protect peoples' rights. Consequently, this Arab Hashemite sanctuary will remain capable of supporting its Arab brethren and their causes, out of its historical pan-nationalist stand it inherited from the Great Arab Revolt and its principles of freedom, social justice, unity and equality.
Against this backdrop, Jordan's position on the Syrian crisis has proved right. From the very beginning, the Kingdom adhered to a pan-nationalist humanitarian stand, supporting a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian problem that brings an end to the bloodshed and the suffering the brotherly Syrian people have endured since 2011, ensures the unity of the Syrian people and land and enables Syrians to reach national reconciliation, restore security and stability and start reconstruction. Jordan has suffered and is still suffering as a result of this crisis, especially as it assumed its pan-nationalist and humanitarian role of embracing the Syrian brethren, despite the adverse impact of that on its interests. The Senate demands the entire world to help Jordan shoulder the burdens ensuing from the Syrian crisis, especially in its efforts to provide aid to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian brothers and sisters on its territory. The Senate and your entire faithful people stand in one line with you as you take all necessary measures to protect Jordan and its interests if the international support does not rise to the required level.
Your Majesty,
The establishment of an independent Palestinian state that meets the aspirations of the brotherly Palestinian people is a right to which the Palestinians are entitled. At the same time, it constitutes a Jordanian strategic interest. The Palestinian issue is the foremost Arab cause and its solution should come within the framework of international legitimacy resolutions. Accordingly, the Senate appreciates your positive and significant role in pushing forward the entire peace process and safeguarding the higher interests of Jordan inherent in the final status issues, in a way that sets the minds of both peoples, the Jordanian and the Palestinian, at ease, assured that their entities, identities and future are preserved, and reinforces our internal front.
Your Majesty,
The Senate extends to Your Majesty its appreciation and gratitude for your protection of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. Your custodianship of these shrines is a historical tradition you have kept under all circumstances and times. Your support of the awqaf in Jerusalem and Palestine and the great role you play in preserving these sites on that sacred land is an example to follow in honouring promises, respect of monotheist religions and observance of the teachings of true Islam. Again, the Senate commends Your Majesty's efforts, and prays that God help you shoulder this great historical responsibility.
Your Majesty,
The Senate voices its deep appreciation of your wise leadership with regards to the way Your Majesty manages the impact of the Arab Spring and the global financial crisis on our country. We also appreciate your deep insight and relentless efforts to crystallise and build a democratic model stemming from Jordan's cultural, human and social heritage, in conformity with the principles of freedom, justice, citizenship, national unity and equality. We at the Senate vow to perform our legislative, oversight and accountability role, in a way that serves the higher interests of the country, seeking a free and decent life for our one Jordanian people within the context of true democracy.
Your Majesty,
We thank you and renew our allegiance to you; and we pray to God to keep you as the honest guardian of your faithful people and a supporter of our Arab and Islamic nation.
Long live Jordan; long live the King,
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.



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