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State structure

The Kingdom of Jordan is headed by a constitutional monarch who is inviolable. The succession to the throne is hereditary and reserved for men. Executive power rests with the king, who appoints and can dismiss the prime minister and is commander-in-chief of the army.

Legislative power resides with the King and the National Assembly, which constitutionally consists of a Senate, consisting of 40 prominent personalities appointed by the King for eight years, who must be over 40 years of age, and a House of Representatives, consisting of 80 elected members. They are elected by universal suffrage for four years. In July 2001, a new electoral law was passed, which included an increase in the number of seats in the House of Representatives to 104. In addition, the number of constituencies was increased from 21 to 45.

The Parliament has the power to reject legislative proposals submitted by the Prime Minister. If a bill is accepted by parliament, it is submitted to the king for gold approval. The Cabinet is accountable to the Parliament, and the Parliament has the right to force the Cabinet to resign. The king can then decide to reconvene and dissolve parliament, and to call or postpone elections. In 1974 and 1984 the parliament was actually dissolved by the king.

In November 1989, elections were held for the first time in 23 years. A quorum of two-thirds is required for sessions of both houses. The members meet only in special sessions.

According to a 1976 amendment to the Constitution, the King has the right to call or postpone elections for a longer period of time. There is universal suffrage (according to the constitution); women were given the right to vote and stand for election only in 1973 and a woman was elected to parliament in 1993. The voting age is 18.

In 1991, a period of over thirty years during which the formation of political parties was prohibited came to an end. The multi-party system was officially accepted in June with the adoption of a national charter. In 1993, political parties were allowed to participate in the elections for the first time. However, the electoral system was so complicated that parties had little chance of entering parliament. For the current political situation, see the history chapter.

Administrative division

Jordan has 12 districts or 'liwas', which are divided into sub-districts or 'qudas'. The city councils are elected locally, the mayors are appointed by the government.

name districtcapitalsurfaceinhabitanta
AjlunAjlun412 km2120.000
AmmanAmman8.231 km22.183.000
al-Aqabahal-Aqabah6.583 km2128.000
al-Balga’as-Salt1.076 km2347.000
IrbidIrbid1.621 km21.010.000
JarašJaraš402 km2165.000
al-Karakal-Karak3.217 km2223.000
Ma’anMa’an33.163 km2117.000
MadabaMadaba2.008 km2164.000
al-Mafraqal-Mafraq26.435 km2307.000
at-Tafilahat-Tafilah2.114 km290.000
az-Zarqaaz-Zarqa4.080 km2951.000


Education is westernised and compulsory from six to fifteen years. There are six years of primary education, followed by three years of compulsory education; 97% of children attend primary school. After that it is possible to enter higher education after another three years of secondary education. About 10% of the schools are private, a small part is Islamic. After the free but compulsory primary school of six years, various forms of secondary and vocational education follow.

There are three state universities: in Amman, the Yarmouk University in Irbid and in Mo'ata and a private university in Zarqa. Between 1961 and 2001, the illiteracy rate fell from 67% to 13%. Several tens of thousands of Jordanians study abroad.

Of the population over 15 years of age, 94% of men can read and 80% of women.


Allan, M. / Reishandboek Jordanië en Syrië

Grünfeld, R. / Syrië, Jordanië en Libanon

Haan-van de Wiel, W.H. de / Jordanië, Syrië

Jordanië, Syrië

Meijer, R. / Jordanië : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen : Novib

Rauch, M. / Jordanië
Van Reemst

Weiss, W.M. / Jordanië

Wills, K. / Jordan
Lucent Books

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info