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Yearbook 2011

Jordan. The revolt in North Africa inspired Jordanians of different backgrounds - students, Islamists, Bedouins, left-wing intellectuals - to demand democratization. The protests began in January as small tribal uprisings in some villages but spread to the capital Amman and other cities.

2011 Jordan

According to Countryaah official site, members of the largest Bedouin clans who normally support King Abdullah wanted, among other things, that Parliament should resign and a transparent new election be held. On March 24, a person was killed when police attacked a newly formed protest camp on the Nassertorget in Amman. The activists there demanded, among other things, democratic elections, a government based on the majority of the parliament and restrictions on the powers of the intelligence service.

King Abdullah tried on some concessions. On February 1, he dismissed Prime Minister Samir Rifai and replaced him with Marouf Bakhit, a conservative former army general who also held the Prime Minister's post in 2005-07. He was allowed to remain until October 17, when he resigned at the king's request after over 70 parliamentarians accused him of not pushing through enough reforms. Bakhit was replaced by Awn al-Khasawneh, a judge in the International Criminal Court in The Hague and a member of the group that negotiated the peace agreement with Israel in 1994.

In February, expanded freedom of assembly was enacted, which made it easier for the opposition to gather for demonstrations. In a televised speech in June, the king promised to waive his power to appoint the country's government, including its chief, and instead allow the government to be formed on the basis of the majority in parliament. He also promised new elections but warned that sudden changes could lead to chaos. An inquiry appointed by the king came in August with 42 proposals for amendments to the constitution, including that the age limit for candidates in the parliamentary elections would be lowered from 35 to 25 years, that an independent commission would monitor future elections and that a constitutional court be established.

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