Political situation Supporting modernisation

The constitution of 1952 established Jordan as a constitutional monarchy. King Abdullah II has been head of state since 1999 and has extensive powers. He is endeavouring to systematically modernise his country so as to enable it to take on a leading role in the region.

Shepherd in Jordan

Shepherd in Jordan

Shepherd in Jordan


Wide-ranging reforms came into force in 2011; a constitutional court and an independent electoral commission were set up, and parliament’s rights in relation to the King were strengthened. Elections to the lower house of parliament were held in September 2016 under reformed electoral laws.

While Jordan ranks 60th out of 180 countries on Transparency International's 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, corruption does nevertheless remain a serious problem.

Human rights

Jordan has signed all the main UN human rights treaties but in some cases has applied reservations to their provisions. No public criticism of the monarchy, military or security service is permitted and press freedom is severely curtailed. Although women have equal rights under the constitution, they are still socially, economically and culturally disadvantaged. Following an eight-year moratorium on the death penalty, it was reinstated in 2014.

Foreign policy

In its foreign policy, Jordan is keen to achieve conciliation between its neighbours. It maintains good relations with the United States, the European Union and the states on the Arabian Peninsula, and also actively champions the continuation of the Middle East peace process. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Jordan belongs to the Deauville Partnership, through which, since 2011, the G7/G8 countries have been helping the states of the Middle East and North Africa to further develop democracy and the rule of law and to introduce economic and social reforms.

An association agreement between the EU and Jordan came into force in 2002 and in October 2010 Jordan was granted “advance status” partnership. A wide-ranging free trade agreement is currently being negotiated.