Prior to 1989, Jordans last parliamentary elections were held in April of 1967, two months prior to Israels occupation of the West Bank. Since their union in 1950, the East and West Bank had been allocated equal representation within Parliament: each had thirty representatives in the House of Deputies. The 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and the 1974 Arab Summit resolution at Rabat, which designated the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, posed constitutional and practical obstacles to the holding of general elections.
On July 28, 1988, King Hussein announced the cessation of a $1.3 billion development program for the West Bank, explaining that the measure was designed to allow the PLO more responsibility for the area. Two days later, he formally dissolved Parliament, ending West Bank representation in the legislature. Finally, on July 31 King Hussein announced the severance of all administrative and legal ties with the occupied West Bank. Accordingly, electoral districts were redrawn to represent East Bank constituencies only. This disengagement decision marks the turning point that launched the current democratic process, and began a new stage in Jordans relationship with West Bank Palestinians.
The decision to sever legal and administrative ties with the West Bank allowed Jordans electoral law to be changed, redrawing the map to include only East Bank districts. During the same period, mounting economic difficulties led to a spate of rioting in certain parts of the Kingdom. Circumstances had therefore coalesced to produce a situation favoring the resumption of the democratic process King Hussein had initiated early in his reign. In November 1989, general parliamentary elections were held in Jordan for the first time since 1966, ushering in a new era for the institutionalization of Jordans democratic experience.