Today started with visiting the Jordanian Speaker of the House and then the President of the Senate. We had some lively discussions, generally in the Senate and mostly about the Middle East peace process.
As a result of the Arab Spring, Jordan passed a new electoral law that allowed voters to cast two ballots; one for a candidate in their constituency and one for party lists elected by proportional representation at the national level. The Parliament in Jordan is made up of two bodies, the House and the Senate. There are now 150 seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate has members appointed by the King and does not exceed half the number of the total Members of Parliament. We ended our visit there by watching one if the two weekly sessions of parliament. Absolutely fascinating compared to watching a House Session!
We also visited with the newly created Independent Election Commission, which was part of the reforms enacted and was established to oversee the election process. It is indeed a fascinating time in Jordan. As a matter of fact, around 70% of eligible voters registered to vote. We met with the new director of the commission and he has a lot of work to do but learned a lot from the last election cycle.
After a great morning learning about the legislative process, we went out to visit the Jordanian International Police Training Center (JIPTC). The center is ground zero for the transformation of US-allied security forces not only for the Kingdom of Jordan, but also for Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. After a briefing and watching some Palestinian forces running through a training exercise, we went out to a shooting range for a demonstration.
Mother Nature had another plan and I experienced my first massive sand storm! Check out my photo on Facebook. It was insane, but now I can check that off my bucket list!
That’s it for now from Amman!