Jordan: Parliament’s second ordinary session begins

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AMMAN — The Senate on Sunday held its first meeting of the second ordinary session which was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah with the Speech from the Throne. 
Senate President Faisal Fayez, in the presence of Prime Minister Hani Mulki and Cabinet members, said that the Speech from the Throne encompassed all local and regional issues, expressing the Upper House’s keenness to fully cooperate with the Lower House and government members to enhance efficiency, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 
The Upper House elected members of the committee that will reply to the Speech from the Throne, which include senators Marouf Bakhit, Rajai Muasher, Bassam Talhouni, Samir Murad and Haydar Mahmoud.
Also on Sunday, the Lower House held its first meeting of the second ordinary session and authorised its permanent office to name members of the panel that will reply to the Speech from the Throne, as stipulated in Article 6 of the Chamber’s by-law, Petra reported.
At the beginning of the meeting, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh pledged to continue the constitutional work of the Chamber with the “highest degrees” of dedication and responsibility.
Tarawneh said that His Majesty identified the main features of the upcoming stage and called for showing the utmost levels of commitment to deal with the challenges of next year, whether they are economic, political or related to the regional conditions.
He also called on the government to explain its programmes transparently and acquaint the public with clear steps to deal with challenges. He stressed that the House will not spare any effort in protecting Jordanians through any means possible to achieve public interests. 
Later, members of the House elected MP Khamis Atiyyeh as the first deputy House speaker, with 64 votes. His rival MP Ahmad Safadi received 58 votes, while 8 votes were cancelled.
MP Suleiman Zaben won elections as the second deputy speaker with 66 votes, according to Petra.