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Deputies accuse Senate of obstructing passports draft law
[February 27, 2012]

Deputies accuse Senate of obstructing passports draft law

AMMAN, Feb 27, 2012 (Jordan Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Several MPs on Sunday accused the Senate of obstructing the will of the Lower House by shelving a draft law for nine years.

During Sunday's session, Deputy Mamdouh Abbadi (Amman, 3rd District) criticised the Upper House for keeping the passport draft law, which it rejected in 2003, from being discussed in the Lower House.

Abbadi made the remarks while MPs were discussing a new version of the bill recently introduced to the Lower House by the government.

The Amman MP urged his colleagues to reject the government's amendments to the 1969 Passport Law, saying the new draft law, which identifies officials who are eligible to hold a diplomatic passport, does not include any substantial changes.

In the 1969 legislation, serving members of the Lower House were not given permission to carry diplomatic passports, while the new draft law gives them the right to hold the same passports as serving ministers and senators.

Balqa MP Abdullah Ensour, who also opposed the amended law, accused former senate president Zeid Rifai of having kept the 2003 draft law in his desk drawer for nine years, which he called an unconstitutional act meant to obstruct the will of the Lower House.

MPs Fawaz Zu'bi (Irbid, 4th District) and Saleh Wreikat (Amman, 5th District) agreed with Abbadi and Ensour that the draft law should be rejected.

The majority of MPs, however, voted to refer the bill to the Lower House Legal Committee.

"If we reject the bill, it will mean that we lose our constitutional right and people's wishes," MP Khalil Atiyyeh (Amman, 1st District) said.

Jerash Deputy Wafaa Bani Mustafa said the draft law included new positive provisions that were worth discussing.

"By rejecting the draft law we will give the Senate absolute authority over the Lower House," Jerash MP Mefleh Ruheimi added.

According to the passport draft law, diplomatic passports are granted to members of the Royal family, serving and former prime ministers, serving and former presidents of the Senate, Lower House and Judicial Council, the Royal Court chief and King's advisers, serving ministers and serving members of Parliament, among other categories of high ranking officials.

Also during yesterday's session, the Lower House approved the 2010 railways draft law and referred a number of bills to specialised committees, including the youth and sports, and armed forces draft laws.

In addition, several MPs called on the permanent committees to speed up their efforts to finalise the laws they are examining, particularly the draft law governing the independent commission for elections.

___ (c)2012 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) Visit the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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