Written by The Jordan Times Monday, 23 April 2012 07:45
In a joint session on Tuesday, members of the Upper and the Lower Houses of Parliament voted to give all lawmakers lifetime pensions, ending a months-long dispute over amendments to the Civil Retirement Law.
The debate had been marked mostly with disagreement over different amendments proposed by the two Chambers, with the Senate twice rejecting deputies’ decision to grant pensions to all parliamentarians, insisting instead on granting them only to those who had served for a certain length of time.
The dispute was resolved during Tuesday’s session when an overwhelming majority of members of both Houses voted in favour of the Lower House’s amendments to the law.
Of the 155 legislators present yesterday, 120 voted in support of deputies’ proposal to reinstate the 1999 amendments to the 1959 Civil Retirement Law, under which all members of Parliament are to be given pensions for life regardless of the duration of their service.
Earlier this week, the Senate insisted for the second time on its amendments to the legislation, under which only lawmakers with at least six years of civil service and four years as parliamentarians would have been entitled to lifetime pensions.
The Senate rejected deputies’ amendments for the first time on April 9, but the Lower House voted down the Senate’s version two days later.
Late last year, deputies rejected amendments to the 2010 Civil Retirement Law made by the government of former prime minister Samir Rifai, under which members of both Houses were not to be given lifetime pensions, insisting instead on reinstating the 1999 amendments to the 1959 legislation, which granted MPs and senators pensions for life.
According to the Constitution, disagreements over laws between both Houses are resolved by holding a joint session to discuss and issue a final decision on the matter in dispute.
Article 92 of the Constitution states: “Should either House twice reject any draft law and the other accept it, whether or not amended, both the Senate and the Chamber shall hold a joint meeting under the chairmanship of the speaker of the Senate to discuss the matters in dispute. Acceptance of the draft law shall be conditional upon the passing of a resolution by a two-thirds majority of the members of both Houses present. If the draft law is rejected as described above, it shall not be placed again before the House during the same session.”
Tuesday’s session was the second joint session held by the 16th Parliament — last September, members of both Houses held their first joint session to make a final decision on the 2011 draft municipalities and general pardon laws, which ended with senators winning the vote over the two items of legislation.
The Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Monday quoted a survey conducted by Al Quds Centre for Political Studies as pointing out that in 65 years, only nine joint sessions have been held by the two Houses of Parliament, during which disputes over 16 pieces of legislation were resolved.