The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy composed of three branches: the executive branch, the government (the Prime Minister and Cabinet), the legislature, and the judiciary. The legislative branch is bicameral: the House of Notables, containing 75 senators appointed by the King, and the House of Deputies, containing 150 deputies directly elected by the King’s subjects. The latest election for the House of Deputies was held in September 2016, the next is expected for 2020. The constitution grants the King authority to dissolve either house of Parliament and to expel any member of either the House or Senate at will. The normal parliamentary term is four years, which may be extended for one year by royal decree.
Jordan has a multi-party parliamentary political system. There are 30 political parties registered but few are considered to oppose the ruling government or executive authority. During the “Arab Spring”, protests and popular pressure resulted in the King reshuffling the Cabinet (including the Prime Minister) and passing some political reforms to further democratic participation.
Legislative power is shared between the government and both houses of Parliament. Legislation may be submitted as a bill by either house of Parliament, although it is more commonly the Prime Minister who proposes legislation to the House of Deputies (the Lower House), where a special legislative committee considers the proposal. The deputies may accept, amend or reject the proposal. Should a proposal pass the sub-committee, the government drafts a formal bill, which it then submits to the House of Deputies for a vote. If approved by the House of Deputies, the bill is considered by the House of Notables (or Senate) for debate and vote. Should a bill fail to pass the upper house, it is returned to the Lower House for amendment. Should the House and Senate fail to agree on draft legislation, it can be passed by a two-thirds majority vote of a joint session.
A bill passed by both Houses of Parliament becomes law if the King declares it so through Royal Decree. Should the King reject the bill, it returns to the House of Deputies with explanations for his refusal; and the elected officials repeat the debate and vote again. If the elected Lower House and the King-appointed Senate meet for a joint vote and pass a bill formerly rejected by the King by a two-thirds majority, the draft legislation becomes law by Legislative Decree.