Thursday, January 27, 2005

Jordan to introduce democratic reform

I wrote yesterday about the spread of democracy in the Middle East and said this:

The torch of freedom is lit and burning in Afghanistan and in the Ukraine. The torch will be lit in Iraq this weekend and its glow will be seen across the border in Iran and Syria. Freedom's light burns brighter, is seen from ever afar, and it beckons ever stronger. It has exposed the failure of radical Islam and lights the path to freedom for all its prisoners.

Seems some of that light is shinning on Jordan.

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — King Abdullah II, while urging citizens in neighboring Iraq to vote in this weekend's elections, said he would introduce some limited democratic reforms in his kingdom. In a televised speech, Abdullah said he wanted to "address all our brethren in Iraq, of all groups and spectrums, and call on them to take part in the elections to be held in a few days."

The king then unveiled plans to establish elected councils to oversee development in Jordan. He did not explain how the new councils would work with existing local authorities, half of whose members are appointed by the government.

"I assert here that political development should start at the grass roots, then move up to decision-making centers, and not vice versa," the king said.

Abdullah spoke only hours after President Bush urged him at a Washington press conference to "make sure that democracy continues to advance in Jordan."

Let the light shine on.

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