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Responsible freedom and national security: Liberalisation and de-liberalisation in Jordan under King Abdullah II


  • László Csicsmann

    () (Corvinus University of Budapest, Institute for International Studies Hungary)


Political liberalisation in Jordan was launched as a regime survival strategy in 1989 by the late King Hussein. In spite of his efforts, 18 years later the Jordanian monarchy is considered as a semi-authoritarian system. This article explores the prospects for further political liberalisation under King Abdullah II, whose vision on the development of Jordan is full of enthusiasm. The author argues that Jordan is one of the most-advanced countries in the region in terms of political reform, but it has performed poorly in comparison to other developing states. King Abdullah promotes the “Jordan model” in order to win the support of the international audience: Western-oriented foreign policy, economic liberalisation allowing multinational companies to invest in Jordan, launching the Ministry of Political Development, and holding general elections in 2003. Political developments in Jordan echoed with the so-called “developmental state” paradigm, prioritising economic reform first, while postponing political transformation. National elections are expected to be held at the end of this year under a controversial election law. The recently passed political parties law is a proof of a de-liberalising monarchy, which is trying to preserve the loyalty of independent candidates, while marginalising the role of political parties. This paper deals with the external and the internal factors of political liberalisation in Jordan.

Suggested Citation

  • László Csicsmann, 2007. "Responsible freedom and national security: Liberalisation and de-liberalisation in Jordan under King Abdullah II," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 29(1), pages 103-122, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:29:y:2007:i:1:p:103-122
    Note: The study is based on the author’s research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in 2007 at the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), Amman. I wish to acknowledge the invaluable financial support of ACOR, which made my field research in Jordan possible. I also thank to Edward Lundy, Zoltán Fábián-Seremetyev, and Dr. Nida Hamarneh for helping me in Amman during my project.

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