Jordanians worry protests polarizing their country

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He ruled out such division between Jordanians on the reform agenda. He said differences have emerged more between those espousing change whatever their background and so-called traditionalists who want to maintain the status quo. He said Jordanians from the East Bank and those with Palestinian heritage are both found in each camp.

Mr. al-Momani also said Jordan stands a better chance of achieving change without the kind of violent upheaval witnessed elsewhere in the region because of King Abdullah, a moderate who has taken up the reform mandate.

“One of the most important ways to analyze the Middle East now, including Jordan, is the quality of the leadership. The more flexible it is, the more likely a smooth transition to democracy will be achieved,” he said. “Reform is imminent at this point in time.”

Mr. al-Masri added that the king should take an even more active role.

“I think the king should be in the driving seat,” he said al-Masri. “He should be the leader of these young people, who are calling for their freedoms. This is a historic moment for him, and he can lead this movement.”

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