Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. The current monarch, King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein, is Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The King exercises executive authority through the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the King and advises on the appointment of other Ministers of the Cabinet. The 1952 Constitution provides for a bicameral National Assembly, with a 110-member House of Representatives, also known as the House of Deputies, elected by direct universal suffrage, and a 55-member Senate, also known as the House of Notables, appointed by the King.
In the House of Deputies a number of seats are set aside for women, and various religions and ethnicities.
Elections were held on 9 November 2010, after the previous parliament was dissolved by the King in November 2009, halfway through its four year term. An interim Cabinet, lead by Prime Minister Samir Rifai, was appointed and tasked with enacting new parliamentary and electoral laws in advance of elections. The election appears to have been successful, despite a boycott by the main opposition group, the Islamic Action Front. Almost all parliamentary candidates were independents, and the new parliament is likely to again be dominated by representatives of tribes loyal to the ruling Hashemite dynasty.
King Abdullah’s 2004 “Amman Message” sets the framework for a broad policy of seeking to reclaim the reputation and practice of Islam from extremism. The promotion of moderate Islam and interfaith understanding are recurring themes of the King’s speeches at home and abroad. Jordan has suffered terrorist incidents in recent years, including the 2005 bombing of three Amman hotels in which 60 people were killed.
Jordan is committed to progress on Middle East Peace. The country has a large Palestinian population with more than one and a half million Palestinian refugees. Jordan is one of only two Arab States (the other is Egypt) that has a peace treaty with Israel, concluded in 1994.