CHAPTER 6. The Legislative Power – The Parliament
The Parliament shall consist of two Houses: The Senate and the House of Representatives.
Part 1. The Senate
The Senate, including the Speaker, shall consist of a number not exceeding one-half of the number of the House of Representatives.
In addition to the conditions prescribed in Article (75) of this Constitution, a member of the Senate must have completed forty calendar years of his age and be one of the following classes: present and former prime ministers and ministers; persons who had previously held the offices of ambassadors, ministers plenipotentiary, speakers of the House of Representatives, presidents and judges of the Court of Cassation and of the Civil and Sharia Courts of Appeal; retired military officers of the rank of Lt. General and above; former representatives who were elected at least twice as representatives; and the other similar personalities who enjoy the confidence of the people in view of their work and services to the Nation and the country.
- The term of membership in the Senate shall be four years; the appointment of members shall be renewed every four years; and those of them whose term expired may be reappointed.
- The term of office of the Speaker of the Senate shall be two years and he may be reappointed.
The Senate shall meet simultaneously with the House of Representatives and the sessions shall be the same for both Houses.
- If the House of Representatives is dissolved, the sessions of the Senate shall be suspended.
Part 2. The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members elected by general, secret and direct election in accordance with an election law which shall ensure the following matters and principles :
- The right of candidates to observe the electoral process.
- The punishment of those adversely influencing the voters’ will.
- The integrity of the electoral process in all of its stages.
- A law shall establish an independent body to manage the parliamentary and municipal elections, as well as any other general elections, in accordance with the provisions of the law. The Council of Ministers may assign the independent body to manage or supervise any other elections at the request of the entity authorized by law to conduct such elections.
The term of the House of Representatives shall be four calendar years commencing from the date of the announcement of the results of the general election in the Official Gazette. The King may, by a Royal Decree, prolong the term of the House for a period of not less than one year and not more than two years.
- The election should take place during the four months preceding the end of the term of the House. If the election has not taken place by the end of the term of the House or if delayed for any reason, the House shall remain in office until the election of the new House.
The House of Representatives shall at the beginning of every ordinary session elect its Speaker for a period of two calendar years, and he may be re-elected.
- If the House meets in a non-ordinary session and has no Speaker, the House shall elect a Speaker for a term which shall terminate at the beginning of the ordinary session.
In addition to the conditions prescribed in Article (75) of this Constitution, a member of the House of Representatives must have completed thirty calendar years of his age.
The Judiciary shall have the competence to determine the validity of the election of the members of the House of Representatives. Every voter from the constituency shall have the right to file a petition to the Court of Appeal which has jurisdiction over the constituency of the representative the validity of whose election is contested from his constituency within fifteen days from the date of the publication of the elections results in the Official Gazette indicating therein the reasons of his petition; its decisions shall be final and not subject to any way of challenge; its judgments shall be issued within thirty days from the date of the registration of the petition thereat.
- The Court shall resolve either to reject the petition or to accept it in terms of subject; in which case it shall announce the name of the successful representative.
- The House of Representatives shall announce the invalidity of the membership of the representative who the Court invalidated his membership and the name of the successful representative effective from the date of the issuance of the judgment.
- The actions taken by the member whose membership was invalidated by the Court prior to its invalidation shall be deemed correct.
- Should it be evident to the Court – as a result of its consideration of the petition filed thereto – that the election procedures in the constituency to which the petition relates are not consistent with the provisions of the law, it shall issue its decision for the invalidation of the election in that constituency.
Any member of the House of Representatives may resign his seat by addressing the Speaker of the House in writing, and the Speaker shall place the resignation before the House to decide to accept it or reject it.
If the House of Representatives is dissolved, a general election should be held so that the new House shall convene in a non-ordinary session not later than a maximum of four months after the date of dissolution. Such session shall be deemed as the ordinary session in accordance with the provisions of Article (78) of this Constitution and shall be subject to the conditions of prolongation and adjournment.
- If the election has not taken place by the end of the four months, the dissolved House shall restore its full constitutional power and convene immediately as if the dissolution had not taken place and shall remain in office until the new House is elected.
- Such non-ordinary session shall not in any case continue after (30) September and shall be prorogued on that date in order for the House to be able to hold its first ordinary session on the first of the month of October. If the non-ordinary session happens to be held in the months of October and November, it shall then be considered as the first ordinary session of the House of Representatives.
If the House of Representatives is dissolved for any reason, the new House may not be dissolved for the same reason.
- The government – in the tenure of which the House of Representatives is dissolved – shall resign within a week from the date of dissolution; and its head may not be designated to form the government that follows.
- The Minister who intends to nominate himself for elections shall resign sixty days at least prior to the election date.
Part 3. Provisions Governing Both Houses
- No person shall be a member of the Senate and the House of Representatives:
- Who is not a Jordanian.
- Who was adjudged bankrupt and has not been legally discharged.
- Who was interdicted and the interdiction has not been removed.
- Who was sentenced to imprisonment for a period exceeding one year for a non-political crime and has not been pardoned.
- Who is insane or imbecile.
- Who is of the relatives of the King in the degree of consanguinity to be prescribed by a special law.
- Every member of the Senate and the House of Representatives – during the term of his membership – shall refrain from contracting with the government; public official corporations; the companies owned or dominated by the government; or any public official corporation whether this contracting is in a direct or indirect way with the exception of contracts of lease of land and property and who is a shareholder in a company the members of which exceed ten persons.
- If any of the cases of disqualification provided for in Paragraph (1) of this Article takes place as regards any of the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives during his membership or appears after his election, or violates the provisions of Paragraph (2) of this Article, his membership shall necessarily be non-existent and his seat shall become vacant, provided that the decision – if issued by Senate – shall be submitted to His Majesty the King for ratification.
Subject to the provisions of Article (52) of this Constitution, combination may not take place between the membership of the Senate or the House of Representatives and public offices. Public offices mean every office whose holder receives his salary from public funds; this includes municipal departments. No combination may as well take place between the membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Subject to the provision in this Constitution relating to the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Parliament shall hold one ordinary session during each year of its term.
The King shall summon the Parliament to convene in its ordinary session on the first day of the month of October of each year, and if the said day is an official holiday, on the first following day which is not an official holiday; however the King may, by a Royal Decree published in the Official Gazette, postpone the meeting of the Parliament to a date to be fixed in the Royal Decree, provided that the period of postponement shall not exceed two months.
- If the Parliament is not summoned to convene in accordance with the preceding Paragraph, it shall meet of its own motion as if it was summoned pursuant thereto.
- The ordinary session of the Parliament shall begin on the date upon which it is summoned to meet in accordance with the two preceding Paragraphs, and this ordinary session shall last for six months, unless the King dissolves the House of Representatives before the expiration of that period. The King may prolong the ordinary session for another period not exceeding three months for the completion of pending matters. At the expiration of the first six months or any prolongation thereof, the King shall prorogue the said session.
The King shall inaugurate the ordinary session of the Parliament by delivering the Speech from the Throne in the joint meeting of both Houses. He may deputize the Prime Minister or one of the Ministers to perform the inauguration ceremony and deliver the Speech from the Throne. Each of the two Houses shall submit a petition in which it shall include its reply thereto.
Every member of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall, before starting his work, take an oath before his House in the following provision:
“I swear by Almighty God to be loyal to the King and to the country, uphold the Constitution, serve the Nation, and duly perform the duties entrusted to me.”
The King may, by a Royal Decree, adjourn the sessions of the Parliament for only three times; and for two times only if the meeting of the Parliament was postponed under Paragraph (1) of Article (78), provided that during any one ordinary session the periods of adjournments may not exceed two months, including the period of postponement. The periods of such adjournments shall not be taken into account in computing the term of the session.
- Each of the Senate and the House of Representatives, may adjourn its sessions from time to time in conformity with its by-laws.
The King may whenever necessary summon the Parliament to meet in extraordinary sessions for an unspecified period for every session for the purpose of deciding certain matters to be specified in the Royal Decree when the summons are issued. The extraordinary session shall be prorogued by a Decree.
- The King shall summon the Parliament to meet in extraordinary sessions as well when requested by the absolute majority of the House of Representatives by a petition signed thereby indicating the matters desired to be discussed.
- The Parliament may not discuss in any extraordinary session except the matters specified in the Royal Decree by virtue of which the session is convened.
Each of the two Houses shall make its by-laws for the control and organisation of its proceedings; and such by-laws shall be submitted to the King for ratification.
No meeting of either of the two Houses shall be considered duly constituted unless attended by the absolute majority of the members of the House, and shall continue to be duly constituted as long as this majority is present therein.
- Resolutions of each of the two Houses shall be issued by the majority of votes of the members present, excluding the Speaker, unless this Constitution provides otherwise. In the case of a tie vote, the Speaker should give the vote of preponderance.
- If the voting is related to the Constitution or to a motion of no confidence in the Council of Ministers or in one of the Ministers, the votes should be given by calling the members in their names and in a loud voice.
The sittings of each of the two Houses shall be open. Secret meetings may, however, be convened at the request of the Government or the request of five of the members. The House shall then decide to accept or reject the said request.
No member of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be detained or tried during the currency of the sitting of the Parliament unless the House to which he belongs issues a decision by the absolute majority that there is sufficient reason for his detention or trial or unless he was arrested flagrant delicto. In the event of his arrest in this manner, the House should be notified immediately.
- If a member is detained for any reason during the period the Parliament is not sitting, the Prime Minister shall notify the House to which that member belongs when it sits of the proceedings taken, coupled with the necessary explanation.
Every member of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall have complete freedom of speech and expression of opinion within the limits of the by-laws of the House to which he belongs; and the member may not be answerable because of any voting or opinion he expresses or speech he makes during the sittings of the House.
If the seat of a member of the Senate and the House of Representatives becomes vacant by death, resignation or any other reasons with the exception of whoever a judicial decision was issued in his regards invalidating his membership, the relevant House shall notify the Government or the Independent Election Commission – if he is a representative – within thirty days from the vacancy of the seat of the member; and his seat shall be filled by appointment if he is a Senator or in accordance with the provisions of the Election Law if he is a representative within a period of two months from the date of the notification by the House of the vacancy of the seat; and the membership of the new member shall last to the end of the term of the House.
In addition to the circumstances in which the Senate and the House of Representatives hold meetings pursuant to Articles (29), (34), (79) and (92) of this Constitution, they shall jointly meet at the request of the Prime Minister.
- When the two Houses jointly meet, the meeting shall be presided over by the Speaker of the Senate.
- The joint meetings of the two Houses shall not be considered properly constituted unless the absolute majority of the members of each of the two Houses is present. Decisions shall be issued by the majority of the votes of those present, exclusive of the Speaker who, in case of a tie vote, shall give the vote of preponderance.
No one may be terminated from the membership of either the Senate and the House of Representatives except by a resolution issued by the House to which he belongs; provided that, in other than the cases of non-combination and of disqualification prescribed in this Constitution and in the Elections Law, the resolution of termination shall be issued by a two-thirds majority of the members composing the House. If the termination concerns a member of the Senate, the resolution of the House shall be submitted to the King for ratification.
The Prime Minister shall refer the draft of every law to the House of Representatives which shall have the right to accept, amend, or reject the draft; in all cases the draft shall be referred to the Senate. No law may be promulgated unless passed by both Houses and ratified by the King.
If either House twice rejects the draft of any law and the other House accepts it, amended or not amended, both Houses shall meet in a joint sitting presided over by the Speaker of the Senate to discuss the articles in dispute. Acceptance of the draft shall be conditional upon the issuance of the resolution of the joint House by a two-thirds majority of the members present. When the draft is rejected in the manner described above, it shall not be placed again before the House in the same session.
Every draft law passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be submitted to the King for its ratification.
- The law shall come into force at its promulgation by the King and the lapse of thirty days from of its publication in the Official Gazette unless there is a special provision in the law that it shall come into force from another date.
- If the King contends not to ratify the law, he may, within six months from the date of its submission to him, return it to the House coupled with a statement of the reasons for the non-ratification.
- If the draft of any law (other than the Constitution) is returned within the period specified in the previous Paragraph and is passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives for a second time by the approval of two-thirds of the members of whom each of the two Houses is composed, it should then be promulgated. If the law is not returned ratified within the period prescribed in the third Paragraph of this Article, it shall be considered as effective and ratified. If it doesn’t obtain the two-thirds majority, it may not be reconsidered during that session; however, the Parliament can reconsider the said draft in the next ordinary session.
- When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the Council of Ministers – with the approval of the King – shall have the right to issue provisional laws to cover the following matters:
- General disasters.
- The state of war and emergencies.
- The need for necessary and urgent expenditures which cannot be postponed.
The provisional laws – which should not violate the provisions of the Constitution – shall have the force of law, provided they are placed before the Parliament in the first sitting it holds. The Parliament shall take decisions in their regards during two consecutive ordinary sessions from the date of their referral. It may approve, amend or reject such laws. If it rejects them or the period provided for in this Paragraph elapses without decisions, the Council of Ministers should – with the approval of the King – declare their nullity immediately; and from the date of such declaration the force of law they had shall cease provided that this shall not affect contracts or acquired rights.
- Provisional laws shall come into effect in the manner laws come into effect by virtue of the provision of Article (93) of this Constitution.
Ten or more members of either the Senate and the House of Representatives may propose laws. Every proposal shall be referred to the concerned committee in the House for opinion. If the House contends to accept the proposal, it shall refer it to the Government for putting it in the form of draft law, and to submit it to the House in the same session or in the session that follows.
- Every law proposal submitted by the members of either the Senate and the House of Representatives in accordance with the preceding Paragraph and rejected by the House may not be presented in the same session.
Every member of the Senate and the House of Representatives may address questions and interpellations to the Ministers concerning any of the public matters, in accordance with what is provided for in the by-laws of the House to which that member belongs. No interpellation shall be debated before the lapse of eight days from its receipt by the Minister, unless the case is urgent and the Minister agrees to shorten said period.