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Jordan: MP asks why King Abdullah II is exempted from taxes

Parliament votes to delete opposition lawmaker's comments from the session's record, accusing him of saying 'nonsense'
King Abdullah II of Jordan at the royal Al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman, 21 December 2022 (AFP)
King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman, 21 December 2022 (AFP)

A Jordanian MP was shouted down in parliament on Monday when he questioned why King Abdullah II was exempt from paying taxes on his properties, causing an uproar in the house.

Saleh al-Armouti, a member of the opposition Islamic Action Front party, said that King Abdullah II is "a normal citizen, and he has registered properties under his name. So, why is he exempted from taxes?"

He was addressing Finance Minister Muhammad al-Issis during a meeting in parliament.

The question prompted uproar in the house, and the parliament speaker asked that Armouti's question and remarks be omitted from the session's record. The parliament voted with a majority to delete the question. 

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Jordanian MPs objected to Armouti's comments, and one of them was heard saying, "What is this nonsense?"

However, some Jordanian citizens expressed sympathy with Armouti on social media and saw the deletion of his comments as invalid.

One of them said that he "did not find a single reason to delete it, or does the Speaker of the House see that removal as a defensive position on behalf of the king, ignoring that this removal will lead to raising doubts and questions?"

Jordan's tax laws state that the monarch is granted exemption from paying taxes, while import and customs regulations also exempt him from paying fees on purchases made in his name.

King Abdullah's fortune was under scrutiny in 2021 when it was revealed in The Pandora Papers that he secretly spent more than $100m on property listings in the UK and US.

His lawyers said then that "HM [His Majesty] has not at any point misused public monies or made any use whatsoever of the proceeds of aid or assistance intended for public use."

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