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Parliamentary Bylaw Review: Developing Consensus on Priority Amendments

Upon the invitation of Al Quds Center for Political Studies and under the auspices of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Engineer Atef Al Tarawneh, heads and delegates of parliamentary blocs in the Jordanian Parliament held a work retreat at the Royal Hotel, Amman, on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. The work retreat was entitled: "Revision of Bylaws and Agreement on Priority Amendments." At the beginning of the retreat, Dr. Nassar Al Qaisi, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, highlighted the importance of such an activity to promote the work of parliamentary blocs and the House of Representatives. This meeting reflects the aspiration of a large number of members of the House of Representatives to improve the Council's work and oversight, he said, underscoring the partnership relationship between the Council of Representatives and civil society organizations and research and study centers.

For his part, Oraib Al Rantawi, director general of Al Quds Center for Political Studies, said this meeting came at the request of delegates of parliamentary blocs at their joint meeting with the center on January 23, 2019. The meeting reviewed the Council's bylaws and identified priority amendments to be discussed and agreed on before being filed to the Council's Speaker and Legal Committee. Al Rantawi highlighted the sources and main topics of the document of proposed amendments, which included the following:

-         Increase the terms of the Speaker, members of the Permanent Office and standing committees to two years.

-          Enhance the institutionalization of parliamentary blocs and activate their role.

-         Combine a number of standing committees and propose a new committee and new tasks.

-         Redistribute tasks between the Executive Office and the Permanent Office.

-         Restructure the institutional framework of parliamentary diplomacy.

-         Promote performance transparency and back up standing committees and parliamentary blocs with consultants and researchers.

The retreat included two sessions. In the first session, participating deputies offered general observations on the bylaws and the proposed amendments; in the second session, they reviewed various chapters of the bylaws, discussed the proposed amendments, expressed their opinions thereof - both pro and con - and came up with ideas and other amendments.

The 18 deputies agreed to hold a new joint meeting with Al Quds Center under the auspices of the Permanent Office to hold a final discussion of the proposed amendments before submission to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Legal Committee. They also called for a decision on the amendments to the bylaws at the current parliamentary session, and if that was not possible, they would work on the inclusion of the proposals on the agenda of a special meeting during the third regular session.

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