Keys to the Kingdom
National Anthem
The Office


The Executive Branch

The reigning monarch, King Abdullah, is the chief executive. The king exercises his executive authority by appointing the prime minister, who then organizes a cabinet of ministers to be appointed by the king. The prime minister and the cabinet must then be approved by the Lower House of Parliament, the House of Deputies. If the House of Deputies votes against the prime minister, he and his entire cabinet must resign. The Lower House can also vote any individual minister out of office. The king also appoints all of the members of the Upper House of Parliament, known as the House of Notables, or Senate. The number of senators cannot exceed one-half the number of elected representatives.

The Constitution stipulates that the reigning monarch must approve laws before they can take effect, although his power of veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament. The king also authorizes the appointment and dismissal of judges, regional governors and the mayor of Amman, and he approves constitutional amendments, declares war and is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. As head of state, the king concludes and ratifies treaties and agreements, with the approval of the cabinet and Parliament. The king is also entitled to grant special pardons and amnesties.

The throne of the Kingdom is passed down through inheritance within the dynasty of King Abdullah bin al-Hussein in the direct line of his male heirs. Since 1921, Jordan has been ruled by four monarchs: King Abdullah (1921-51), son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca and King of the Arabs; King Talal bin Abdullah (1951-52), eldest son of King Abdullah; King Hussein bin Talal (1952-1999), eldest son of King Talal; and, King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein (February 7, 1999-present), eldest son of King Hussein.


The Prime Minister and Cabinet

The administration of all internal and external Jordanian affairs is entrusted to the prime minister and the cabinet, or Council of Ministers. The king’s appointment of the cabinet must be confirmed by the lower house of Parliament, and the ministers remain accountable to it. The Constitution requires that the Council of Ministers presents its political program to Parliament, where it is then voted on within one month of the formation of the cabinet.

jordan_bullet2.gif (70 bytes) LIST OF JORDANIAN PRIME MINISTERS jordan_bullet2.gif (70 bytes) THE CABINET LIST  


District and Local Government

Jordan is divided into twelve regional governates, or muhafathat, each of which is divided into smaller administrative sub-regions. Each governate is headed by a governor, who is appointed by the king through the Ministry of the Interior. The district government acts as the executive organ for carrying out cabinet decisions on the local level. These district governments are thus essentially an extension of the central government, and are supervised by the Ministry of the Interior.

In contrast to the appointed district governors, mayors are elected. The only exception to this rule is the mayor of Amman, who is appointed directly by the king. Mayors supervise the day-to-day affairs of towns and cities, and grievances against mayors can be appealed to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment.